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ANDOVCR-HARVARD THCOLOQICAL LIBRARY 

M D CC C CX 

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHU SETTS 



4' -'« 



r r 



THE 

WORKS 

THE REV. H. SCOUGAL, 

A. M* S. T, P. 

CONTAIKIXO 

THE> LIFE OF GOD IN THE SOUL OF BIAN; 



Kinr otX^tv Blntouvutn 

ON IMPORTANT SUBJECTS. 

TO WKIOH IS A.DDXD, 

A SERMO]^ 

, PREACHED AT THE AUTHOR*S FUNEBALi 
BY GiWBGE OAI&DEN, D. D. 



PerfectioniB ae felicitatis summum est oniii Deo. 



BOSTON : 

6TERB0TVPED FROM THE LAST LONDON EDITIGN, 
BY LYMAN THURSTON AND 00. 

. , . Peirco and Willlanur. 
1851. 



ANDOVER-HARTiSD 
TBEOliXHCALLlBBART 
CAMBJSIDOE, IdASS. 

NOnCB FORTHE AMERICAN EDITION. 

Amoitg those who have been ripened early for 
usefulness, and afler being eminently useful, have 
been early removed to the ' rest that remaineth for 
the people of God,' few have been more celebrat- 
ed &r a lovely, unobtrusive piet^ than Scovgal. 
Bishop Burnet, with a name high in public esteem, 
and engagements numerous and important in pub- 
lic life, did not deem it unworthy ot his station and 
character to become a warm eulogist of the young 
author, and of that work of his, which was pub- 
lished in his lifetime. This, his main work, and 
which has gained him most reputation, < The life 
of God in the soul of man,' has been the delight of 
the pious for a century and a half. It cannot be 
necessary to repeat the praises bestowed on it — for 
its simplicity, terror, method of arrangement, and 
exhibition of the genuine amiableness of religion. 
That its publication is seasonable at the present 
time, in order to direct the attention of its readers 
from subjects of doubtfid dumUation to the cUHgeni 
keeping of the heart, no self-observer can question. 
It has, indeed, been reprinted oflen--but, so far as 
the writer of this brief flptice is informed, never 
accompanied in America with the Sermons of the 
author. These, and the discourse delivered on his 
death, with a preface by a former editor, can hardly 
fail to render the present edition acceptable to the 
friends of true piety in America. 

,Bo8k)n, May 6, 1829. '^h O C^' 

. - UR ' 



f Y Jl/V^-^'v,j 



PREFACE. 



Mn. Hekrt ScouGi^L, tbc worthy author of the follow- 
ing book, was bom about the end of June, in the year 14SS0. 

ilia father, Mr. Patrick Soou^l, was Bometime minMior 
at Sakoo, and afterwards Bishc^ of Aberdeen; in which See 
he sat above twenty years from the Restoration. He waf 
married to Maivaret .Wemyss, daughter to a sentkmaa in 
Fife, by M'hom he had three sons and two dau^ters. John 
Scougal, the eldest son, became Commissar}' of Aberdeen. 
Onr autiior was the second. The youngest son, James, un- 
on his eldest brotlier's death, succeeded him in the ooomits- 
. fiariat; which post he sold to Mr. Rotieit Pater8on> father to 
the late Commissary of Aberdeen. He then went to Edin- 
burgh; where he was made one of the senators of the CoUegn 
of iiutice, by the title of Lord Whitehill. Catharine Scon- 
gal, the elder daughter, married Alexander Scrogie, Bishop 
of Ai^ie; and Jane, the younger, became spouse to Mr. 
Patrick Sibbald, one of the ministers of Aberdeen. ' 

But to return to our author. From his childhood, he 
made impommon progress in divine, as well as human learn- 
ing. At the affe of fifteen, he went to the University; 
where he finished his courses in four years* time: and scarce 
had he ceased to be a pupil, when be became a Professor. 
Having adorned this character four years, the more imme- 
diateservice of God in his churdi, required him to enter in- 
to holy orders; and he was soon aifter settled at AnchterleH, . 
a small village about twenty miles from Aberdeen. Here 
he had preached the gospel but the space of one year, when 
lie was called to Aberdeen, and promoted to the Professor- 
ship of Divinity, in King's Colkgre there, though ^ no 
more than fow and twenty. This important function h* 
discharged with the hlgliest honour, till about his twenty- 



tV . PREFACE. 

eeventli year, that he fell into a consumption, which wasted 
him, by slow degrees, aiid, at last, put an end to his valua- 
We life, on the 13th of June, 1678, before he had completed 
the twenty-eighth year of his age. He was buried in King's 
College church. Old Aberdeen, and tlie following inscriptioir 
was put upon bis tombstone; — 

MEMOKIf SACRUM 

HENRICUS SCOUGAL; 

REVERENDI IN CHRISTO PATRI3 PATKICII EPISCOPI 

ABERDONENSI& FILIUSt 

PHILOSOPHIJE IN HAG ACADEMIA REGIA, 

PER QUADRIENNIUM, TOTIDEMCIVE ANNIS 

IBI&EH THEOLOGI£ PROFESSOR: 

ECCLESIJE IN AUCHTERl.ESS,UNb ANNO INTERSTITE, 

PASTOR, 

MULTA IN TAM BREYISSIMO GITRRICUI^O 

DIDICIT, PR^STITIT, DO^CUIT, 

CflEIrl ATIDU3, £T C(ELO MATURUS, 

ORIIT ANNO DOM. MDCLXXTIII, 

JETATIS 9V2E. XXVIII. 

ET HIC EXUriAS MOKTALITATIS POSUIT, 

For a more particular account of onr anthor's life amf 
chf.racter, we refer the reader to the sermon preached at 
his funeral, by Dr. Geoi^e Gairden, winch was first' pub- 
lished, from an authentic mamiscript, by the Rcvereod Mr. 
Cockburn, sometime mimster of St. Paul's at Aberdeen, 
and which we have here subjoined to Mr. Scougurs dis- 
' courses. 

Besides the works now published, our author left behind 
him some occasional reflections, aud moral essays, which 
had been the exercises of his retired moments, whtle but a 
student at the University; as, also, three mamiscript tracts 
in Latin, viz: A short System of Ethics, or Moral Philosophy; 
a Preservative against the Artifices of the Roman Missiona- 
ries; and a Treatise of the Pastoral Cai-e: the last onfin- 
ished. 



PREFACE, 

The works of this excellent author hare too xnU i 
meiuied themselves, to need any new encomiiiras. It eim, 
however, be no improper preface to this edition, (which w« 
hope wiU be found a mrrect one,) to present the reader 
with the accounts of the C>llowing discourses, which the rev- 
erend and learned men who formerly pablisbod them, have 
prefixed to their respective editions. 

The sermons were first collected, and made pablic, bjr 
itik- the Above Mr. Cockbum; who tells us ** he was encouraged 
*'''" to jt, by some persons no less eminent for their piety and 
virtue, than for their birth and quality. I have endeavour- 
ed," says be, " to give them as correct as possible; though 
some of the manuscripts I was obliged to make ose of, lad 
not been transcribed with that care and exactness they 
ought. It cannot be expected,*' continues he, " that these 
di«u>ur8e8, which were never designed by the author for 
the press, can appear with the same advantage as the Trea- 
tise," (meaning The Life of God in the Soul of Man) '*whicli, 
at die persuasion of bis friends, was published in his life- 
time; yet, as they retain tlie same spirit and ^[enius, and give 
the same clear and persuasive notions of religion, it is hoped 
they will be favourably received, as well as that they may 
be very profitable to the candid and serious reader.'* 

But now, to come to our author *s noblest and most per- 
fect work. The Life of God in the Soul of Man. This dis- 
cooi-se was first pubUshed about the year 1677, in the au- 
thor's life-time, by the Reverend Dr. Burnett, afterwarcb 
bishop of Sanim, who introduced it into the work! with the 
foUowing account: " It was written by a pious and learned 
countryman of mine, for the private use of a noUe friend of 
the author's, without the kast design of makii^ it more 
public. Others seeing it, were much taken both with the 
excellent purposes it contained, and the vreat clearness and 
pleasantness of the style; the i^atural method, and the diort- 
ness of it; and desired it might be made a more public good: 
and knowing some interest I had with the author, it was re- 
ferred to me whether it should lie in a private closet, or be 
Jet go abroad. I was not fong in suspense, having read it 
over; and knowing that the author had written out nothing 
here, but what he himself did well feel and know: and there- 
fore, it being a transcript of those divine impressions that 
arc upon his oM'n heart, I hope the native and unforced gen- 
uineness of it, \yiil both Hclig^t and edify the reader. '^ 



Vi PKEFACE. 

The Rmerend Dr. Gairden, in our author's funeral acr- 
•mon, speaks much to the same effect. ** Sure, whoever 
considers the importance of tlie matter of that book, the 
clear representation of the life and spirit of true religion, 
and its graces, the great excellency and advantages of it, 
the proposal of the most effectual means for attaining to it 
by the grace of God, the piety and seasonableness of the 
devotions, together with the natural and affectionate elo- 
quence of die style, cannot but be sensible of its great use- 
fulness, to inspire us with tlie spirit of true religion; to en- 
lighten our minds witli a ri^ht sense and knowledge of it; 
to Avarm our hearts with suitable affections and breathings 
after it, and to direct our lives to the practice of it." 

To the same purpose, let us hear the before mentioned 
Mr. Cockbum. ** The clear style, and easy method of our 
author, the just and amiable representation he gives of i*eli- 
gion, in tliis little treatise, have made it deservedly valued 
and esteemed by all judicious persons: and it has become 
a happy means of giving right notions of religion to many, 
making them in love with it, and putting fbcm upon the 
practice of what they saw was infinitely desirable in itself, 
and, with some pains and industiy, attainable by them.'* 

The Reverend Dr. Wishart, Principal of the College of 
Edinburgh, published, some years ago, a small edition of 
this incomparable Treatise, witli a recommendatory preface, 
equally pious, candid, and judicious; an extract of which 
will, therefore, very properly conclude our preface. 

** Since I had the happiness to become acauainted with 
this book, I have heartily blessed God for the benefit I have 
received to my own soul, by the perusal of it; and have earn- 
estly wished it had a place in -every family; was carefully 
perused by every one who c^n read; and that the senti- 
ments of pure and undefilcd religion it contains, were im- 
pressed upon everj' heart. 

** The things which especially recommend the book £b my . 
heart, and which, I think, cannot fail to recommend it to the 
heart of every serious peruser of it, are : 1. The just notions 
it contains of real and vital religion, in opposition to the com- 
mon mistakes concerning it, and the view it gives us of that 
ingenuotis spirit which Ixjlongs to ti-ue piety; with a just al- 
lowance, at the same time, to the proper nifiucnce of ex- 
ternal motives. 2. The excellency and force of the motives 
by which true religion is here recommended, together with 



^smmw^^^ 



PREFACE. VU 

tlie energy and wai*mth with which they arc delivered. 
S. The excellent directions here given, for attaining true 
piety and goodness. 4. The prudence and charity the wor« 
thy author discmers, in avoiding matters of doubtful dispu- 
tation, about which the best and wisest men differ, while 
he is treating of matters of the greatest importance, about 
which all good and wise men roust agree. And oh! had 
we more, of that true Christian spirit, so beautifully deline- 
ated, and 90 warmly recommended in this book^ I cannot 
but think, that the Berceness of our contentions and ani- 
mosities about things of lesser moment, must considerably 
abate. In fine, that vein of good sense and clear thought, 
and of serious piety, which runs through the whole of this 
performance, exceedingly commended it to me. 

'* For these reasons, I earnestly recommend this bodi to 
die careful perusal of all with whom my recommendation 
may be of any weight; particularly to the people of those 
congregations of which I have had, or now have the over- 
sight. 

" I would, in a particular manner, recommend it to tlie 
rising generation; m whose education I have the honour to 
have a considerable chaise. And oh! that I could be so 
happy as to make them sensible, how much it would con- 
trioute to the peace and satisfaction of their whole after-life, 
to have their minds and hearts early possessed of such just 
notions of true piety and goodness, and such a prevailing 
liking to ity as this excellent book tends to promote; how 
much, I sajr, this would conduce to their true enjoyment in 
a'present life, even though we should set aside the consider- 
ation of that eternal state, to which we are all hastening 
apace, and whether the youngest of us knows not how soon 
he may take his flight.' The chief part, and valuable end, 
of all true' knowledge and learning, is, the rectifying and 
improvement of tlie heart. I would, especially, recommend 
this bfiok to our young students, who have tlieir views to- 
ward the sacred function. I camiot but reckon, tliat the 
most necessary part of preparatiorr for that important work, 
is, to have such a just understanding of tlie great design of 
religion and Christianity, and such a test of true piety and 
goodness, as this book tends to inspire us with. An honest 
and good heart is the n^ain thing necessary for preaching 
tlie word of God, as welj as for hcarlfng it, with profit 



\1U IPREFACE. 

** In fine, I hope I may take the lilterty to recommend it 
to my Younger brethren in the holy ministry. The careful 
penual of this little book may, I hope, contribute to tlie 
further improvement of their notions of religion,.and to pro< 
mote in them that rational piety and real goodneas, in which 
they ought to be examples to their flocks. It may also af- 
ford them excellent hints to be improved upon, according 
to the abilities God has given them in their poUic performan- 
ces. There are few paragraphs in' this excellent book, but 
what may be profitably enlarged into a sermon. And oh! 
my brethren, how may it put us to the bhish, and what a holy 
emulation should it raise in us, to know, that the worth>* 
autlior of this admirable book, com^weed it before he was 
tu'enty-sevcn years of age! what a spm* to oiur dilisenee, ^ 
that lie came to the end and reward of his labours Dcfore 
he was eight and twenty! " 



CONTENTS. 



The occaaion of this discoune - ~ 13 

Mistakes about religion - - 14 

What religion is? - - * 15 

Its permanency and stability - - 15 
Its freedom and unconstrainedneaB • -16 

Religion a divine principle - , - 18 
The natural life, what? -18 
The different tendencies thereof - -19 

The divine life, wherein it connsts - - 21 

Religion better understood by actions, than by words 24 

Pivine love exemplified in our Blessed Savionr 24 

His diligence in doing God's will • 24 

His patience in bearing it - - 24 

His constant devotion » - 26 

His charity to men - - - 26 

His parity - ^ - 27 

His humility ... 28 

A prayer - - - - 30 

The excellency and advantage of religWa - 80 ' 

The excellency of divine love - - 81 

Th^ advantages of divine love - - 83- 

The worth of the object to be regarded - 84 

Love requires a reciprocal return - 8& 

Love reqair^ the object to be present - 35 
The divine love makes us partake of an infinite 

happiness « - - 86 
He that loveth God, finds sweetness in all his dis- 
pensations - - - 87 
The duties of religion are delightful to him 37 



X » CONTENT&. 

The excellency of universal charity aiid love 88 

The pleasure that attends it - - 99 

The excellency of purity - - 40 

The delight it afR>rd8 ^ . 40 

The excellency of hon^Iity - - 41 

The pleasure and sweetness of a humble temper 42 
A prayer ... 43 

Despondent thoughts, which may arise in such as 

are awaken^ to a sense of religion - 44 

The unreasonableness of such fears - 46 

We must use our utmost endeavours, and then re* 

ly on God's assistance •> - 49 

We muiit shun all manner of sin - 50 

We must learn what things are sinful - 51 

We must consider the evils of sin, and resist the 

temptations to it - - 52 

We must constantly watch ourselves - 55 

We must often examine our actions - 56 

We must restrain ourselves in many lawful things 57 
We must strive to put ourselves .out of love with 

the world - . . 57 
We must conscientiously form the outward ac- 
tions of religion . . 60 
We must endeavour to perform internal acts of 

devotion and charity, &c. - - 61 

. Consideration, a great instrument of religion ~ 62 
We must consider the excellency of the divine 

nature, to beget divine love in us • 63 
We must often meditate on God's goodness and 

love - , - - - 65 

To beget charity, we must remember that all men 

are nearly related unto God * 68 

That they bear his image - - 68 

To beget purity, we must consider the dignity of 

our nature - - - 69 

And meditate, often, on the joys of heaven 70 

Humility ariseth from the consideration of our 70 

failings - - 70 

Thoughts of God, make us have an humble ^me 

of ourselves - . - 71 



CONTElTTf. Xi 

Prayer, another inatniment of religion - 72 

Mental prayer, very profitable - - 72 
Religion is advanced by the same means with 

which it began . - - 73 
The frequent use of the Holy Sacrament, an ex- 
traordinary means to increase holiness and 

piety - - - . 78 

A payer ... 74 



NINE DISCOURSES. 

I. The superior Excellency of the Religious. 

— On Prov. xii. 26. * The righteous is more 
excellent than his neighbour.' - 77 

II. The indupensable Duty of loving our Ene- 

mies. — On Luke vi. 27. * But I say unto 
you which hear, Love your enemies.' 94 

III. The Necessity and Advantage of early AC- 

Mictions. — On Lam. iii. 27, 28. * It is good 
for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth: 
he sitteth alone, and keepeth silence, be- 
. cause he hath borne it upon him.' 116 

IV. That there are but a small Number saved. — 

On Luke xiii. 28. * Then said one unto him, 
lA>ni, are there few :hat be saved ? And be 
said unto them,' &c. - . 131 

V. The Duty and Pleasure of Praise and Thanks- 

giving.— On Psalm cviii. 16. • O ! that men 
would praise the Lord for his goodness, and 
for his wonderful works to the Children 
of men.' - - - - 14S 



Xli CONTENTS. 

VI. On the Nativity of our Saviour. — ^From 

Psalm ii. 11. * Rejoice with trembling.' 
Wherein, of the usefulness of the two pas- 
sions, joy and fear, in religion. - 161 

VII. On the Passioft of our Saviour. — ^From Lam. 
i. 12. ' Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass 
by? Behold and see if there 1>e any sorrow 
like unto my sorrow.' - > - ITS 

VIII. A Preparation for the Holy Sacrament. — On 
.Joshua iii. 5. ' Sanctify yourselves: for 
tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among 
you.' [This is imperfect] - 192 

IX. Of ihe Importance and Difficulty of the 

Ministerial Function. — On 2 Cor. ii. 16. 

* Who is sufficient for these things ?' - 199 

A Sermon, preached at the Funeral of the Rev 
Henry ScouGAL. By George Gair- 
DEN, D. D. — On Phil. i. 2. * For to me to 
live is Chnst, and to die is gain.' -, 22$ 



the: lilFS OF GOD 

IN THE 

SOUL OF MAN. 



My dear Friend, 
This designation doth give yon a title to all the en- 
deavours whereby I can serve your interests; and yonr 
pious inclinations do so happily conspire with my duty, 
that I shall not need to step out of my road to gratUy you; 
but I noay at once perform an office of friendship, and di»- 
chaige an exercise of my function, since the advancing of 
virtue and holiness (which I hope y^u make your great- 
est study) is the peculiar business of my employment. 
This, therefore, is the most proper instance wherein I 
can vent my affection, and express my gratitude towards 
yon; and I shall not any longer delay the performance 
of the promise I made you to this purpose. For though 
I Jaow you are provided with better helps of this na- 
ture than any I can offer you; nor are you like to meet 
with any thing here which you knew not before; yet I 
am iiopeful, that what cometh from one whom you are 
pleased to honour with yonr friendship, and which is 
more particularly designed for your use, will be kindly 
accepted by you; and God's providence perhaps may 
ao direct my thoughts, that something or other may 
prove useful to you. Noif shall I doubt your pardon, 
if, for moulding my discourse into the better frame, I 
lay a low. foundation, beginning with the nature and 
properties of religion, and all along give such way to 
iny thoughts in the prosecution of the subject, as may 
bring me to say many things which were not necessary, 
did I only consider to whom I am writing. 
2 



14 THE T.IFi: OF G09 

Mistakes about religion. 
I cannot speak of religion, but I most lament, that, 
among so many pretenders to it, so few understand 
what it means: some placing it in the understanding, in 
orthodox notions and opinions; and all the account they 
can give of their religion is, that they are of this or the 
other persuasion, and have joined themselves to one of 
those many sects whereinto Christendom is most un- 
happily divided. Others place it in the outward man, 
in a constant course of external, duties, and a model of 
performances: if they live peaceably with their neigh- 
bours, keep a temperate diet, observe the returns of 
worship, frequenting the church and their closet, and 
sometimes extend their hands to the relief of the poor, 
they tliink they have sufficiently acquitted themselves. 
Others again put all religion in tbe affections, in raptur- 
ous heats and ecstatic devotion; and all they aim at, is, 
to pray with passion, and think of heaven with pleasiire, 
and to be affected with those kind and melting expres- 
sions wherewith they court their Saviour, till they per- 
suade themselves that they are mightily in love with 
him; and from thence assume a great conifidence of their 
salvation, which they esteem the chief of Christian gra- 
ces. Thus jare those things which have any resemblance 
of piety, and at the best are but means of obtaining it, 
or particular exercises of it, frequently mistaken for the 
whole of religion; nay, sometimes wickedness and vice 
pretend to that name. I speak not now of those gross 
impieties wherewith the heathens were wont* to wor- 
ship their gods: there are but too many Christians who 
would consecrate their vices, and hallow their corrupt 
affections; whose rugged humour, and sullen pride, must 
pass for Christian severity; whose fierce wrath, and bit- 
ter rage against their enemies, must be called holy zeal; 
whose petnlancy towards their superiors, or rebellion 
against their governors, must have the name of Chris- 
tian courage and resolution. 



IN THE 80UI. OF MAN. 15 

What religion w. 
But certainly religion is quite another thing ; and they 
who are acquainted with it, will entertain far different 
thoDghts, and disdain all those shadows and false imita- 
tions of it They know by experience, that tme religion 
k an union of the sool with God, a real participation of the 
foinenatnre, the very image of God drawn npon the soni ; 
or, in the Apostle's phrase, it is Christ formed within 
us. Briefly, I know not how the nature of religion can 
be more fully expressed, than by calliog it a divine life. 
And under these terms I shall discourse of it ; showing first 
how it is called a life, and then how it is termed divine. 

The permanency and stability of religion. 
I choose to express it by the name of life ; fint, be- 
cause of its permanency and stability. Religion is not 
a sudden start, or passion of the mind ; not though it 
should rise to the height of a rapture and seem to tnin»- 
port a man to extraordinary performances. There are 
few but have convictions of the necessity of doing some- 
thing for the salvation of their soula, which may posh 
them forward some steps with a great deal of seeming 
haste. But anon they flag and give over: they were in u 
hot mood, but now they are cooled: they did shoot forth 
iiiesb and hi^h, but are quickly withered, because they 
had no root m themselves. These sudden fits may be 
compared to the violent and convulsive motions of bodies 
newly beheaded, caused by the agitations of the animal 
spirits, after the soul^is departed ; which however vio- 
lent and impetuous, can be of no long continuance : 
whereas the motions of holy souls are constant and reg- 
ular, proceeding from a permanent and lively principle. 
It is true, this divine life continueth not always in the 
same strength and vigour, but many times suffers sad 
decays ; and holy men find greater difficulty in resisting 
temptations, and less alacrity in the perfonnance of their 
dutifis : yet it is not quite extinguished, nor are they aban- 
doned to the power of those corrupt affections which 
sway and overrule the rest of the world 



^ippi^^ " ' " '. F^^ 



16 THE LIFE OF OOD 



The freedom and unconstrainedness of religion* 
Again, religion may be defined by the name of life, 
because it is an inward, free, and self-moving princt- 
pie; and those who have made progress in it, are not 
actuated only by external motiyeS) driven merely by 
threatenings, nor bribed b^ promises, nor constrained by. 
laws; but are powerfully mclined to that which is gdod, 
end delight in the performance of it. The love which 
a pious man bears to God and goodness, is not so much 
by virtue of a command enjoining him so to do, as by a 
new nature instructing and prompting him to it; nor doth 
he pay his devotions as an unavq^idable tribute, only to 
appease the divine justice, or quiet his clamorous con- 
science; but those religious exercises are the plroper ema- 
nations of the divine life, the natural employments of 
the new-bom soul. He prays, and gives thanks, and re- 
pents, not only because these things are commanded, 
but rather because he is sensible of his wants, and of the 
divine goodness, and of the folly and misery of a sinful 
life. His charity is not forced, nor his alms extorted 
from him: his love makes him willing to give ; and though 
there were no outward obligation, his heart would de- 
vise liberal things. Injustice and intemperance, and all 
other vices, are as contrary to his temper and constitu- 
tion, as the basest actions are to the most generous spir- 
it, and impudence and scurrility to those who are natu- 
rsilly modest: so that I may well say with 8t. John, 
}Vhosoever is bom of God, doth not commit sin; for 
his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, be- 
cause he is born of God, Though holy and religious 
persons do much eye the law of God, and have a great 
regard unto it; yet it is not so much the sanction of the 
law, as its reasonableness, and purity, and goodness, 
which do prevail with them: they account it excellent 
and desirable in itself, and that in keeping of it there is 
great reward; and that divine love wherewith they are 
actuated, makes them become a law unto themselves. 



IN TH£ BOVL QT MAN. i7 

Q^ub legem det amantibasl 

Major est aoior lex ipse sibi. 
Who shall preacribe a law to those that lovel 
Love's a more powerful law which doth them more, 
in a word, what our blessed SaTionr said of hiifiself, is 
in some measure applicable to his followera, that it it 
their meat and drink to do their Father^ $ will: and as 
the natural appetite is carried out toward food, tlioogh W9 
should not reflect on the necessity of it for the preserva- 
tion of our liyes; so are they carried with' a natural and 
unforced propension toward th^t which is good and coni- 
mendabie. It is trae, external motives are man^ times 
of great use to excite and stir up this inward pnnciple, 
especially in its infancy and weakness, when it is often 
so languid that the man himself can scarce discern it, 
hardly being able to move one step forward, but when 
he is pushed by his hopes, or his fean; by the pressure 
of an affliction, or the sense of a mercy; by the author- 
ity of the law» or the persuasion of others. Now, if 
such a person be conscientious and uniform in his obedi- 
ence, and earnestly groaning under the sense of his dul- 
neas, and is desirous to perform his duties with more 
spirit and vigour: these are the first motions of the divine 
life, which, though it be faint and weak, will surely be 
cherisiied by the influences of heaven, and grow unto 
|[reater maturity. But he who is utterly destitute of this 
^m^ard principle, and doth not aspire unto it, but con- 
tents himself with those performances whereunto he is 
prompted by education or custom, by the fear of hell, 
or carmd notions of heaven, can no more be accounted 
a religious person, than a puppet can be called a man. 
This for(»^ and artificial religion is commonly heavy 
and languid, Hke the motion of a v^eight forced upward ; 
it is cold and spiritless, like the uneasy compliance of a 
wife married against her will, who carries it dutifully to- 
ward the husband whoili she doth not love, out of some 
sense of virtue or honour. Hence also this religion 
is scant and lii^ardly, especially in those duties which 
do greatest violence to men's carnal inclinations; and 
(bose slavish spirits will be sure to do no more than is 
2* 



18 THE LIFE OF GOD 

absolutely required: it is a law that compels them, and 
they will be loth to go beyond what it stints them to; 
nay, they will ever be putting such glosses on it, as 
may leave themselves the greatest liberty; whereas the 
i^irit of true religion is frank and liberal, far from dach 
peevish and narrow reckoning; and he who hath given 
himself entirely unto God, will never thiiik he doth 
too much for him. 

Religion a divine principle. 
By this time I hope it doth appear, that religion is, 
with a great deal of reason, termed a lifey or vital prin- 
ciple; and that it is very necessary to distinguish between 
it, and that obedience which is constmined and depends 
on external causes. ' 1 come next to give an account 
why I defined it by the name of ditine life. And so 
it may be called, not only in regard to its foutitain and 
original, having God for its author, and being wrought 
in the souls of men by the power of his Holy Spirit; but 
also in regard of its nature, religion being a reseipblance 
of the (divine perfections, the image of the Almighty 
shining in the soul of man: nay, it is a real paiiticipatioa 
of his nature; it is a beam of the eternal light, a drop of 
that infinite ocean of goodness; and ihey who are endued 
with it, may be said to have God dwelling in their 
souls and Christ formed within them. 

What the natural life is, ' 

Before I descend to a more particular consideration 
of that divine life whecein true religion doth consist, it 
will be fit to speak a little of that natural or animal lifts 
which prevails in those who are strangers to the other. 
And by this I understand nothing else, but our inclina- 
tion and propension toward those things which are pleas- 
ing and acceptable to nature; or self love issuing forth 
and spreading itself into as many branches as men have 
several appetites and inclinations. The root and foun- 
dation of the animal life I reckon to be sense^ taking it 
largely, as it is opposed unto fuilh, and iniporteth our 
perception and sensation of things that are either gratg- 



f^^^m^^m m i i ■ ^^^ -■ ■ iPPi 



IS THE SOUL OF HAN. 19 

All or trottblesome to us. Now, these animal affections 
considered in themselves, and as they are implanted in 
us by nature, are not vicious or blameable; nav, thev 
are instances of the wisdom of the creator fornisning his 
creatures with such appetites as tend to the presen-ation 
and welfare of their lives. These are instead of a law 
unto the brute beasts, whereby they are directed towards 
tbft ends for which they were made. But man, being 
made for higher purposes, and to be guided by more ex- 
cellent laws, becomes guilty and criminal when he is so 
far transported by the inclinations of this low^sr life, as to 
violate Jus duty, or neglect the higher and more noble 
designs of his creation. Our natural affections are not 
wholly to be extirpated and destroyed, but only to be 
moderated and overruled by a superior and more excel- 
lent principle. In a word, the difference between a re- 
ligious and a wicked man is, that in the one divine life 
bears sway, in the other the animal life doth prevail. 

The different tendencies of the natural life. 
But it is strange to observe, unto what different cour- 
ses this natural principle will sometimes carry those who 
are wholly guided by it, according to the diverse circum- 
stances tliat concur with it to determine them; and then 
not considering this, doth frequently occasion very dan- 
gerous mistakes, making men think well of themselves 
by reason of that seeming difference which is between 
them and others; whereas perhaps their actions do all 
the while flow from one and the same original. If we 
consider the natural temper and cotistitution of men^s 
souls, we shall find some to be airy, frolicksome, and 
light, which makes their behaviour extravagant and 
ridiculous; whereas others are naturally serious and se- 
vere, and their whole carriage composed into such 
gravity as gains them a great deal of reverence and es- 
. teem. Some are of an. humorsome-, rugged, and mo- 
lose temper, and can neither be pleased themselves, nor 
endure that others should be so. But all are not bom 
with such sour and unhappy dispositions; for some per- 
sons have a certain sweetness and benignity rooted in 



20 THE LIFE OF GOD 

their natures, «nd they find the greatest pleasure in the 
endearments of society, and the mutual complacency 
of friends, and covet nothing more than to have every 
body obliged to them. And it is well that nature hath 
provided this complex ional tenderness to supply the de* 
feet of true charity in the world, and to incline men to 
do something for one another^s welfare. Again, in te- 
gard of edacation, some have never been taught to fol- 
low any other roles, than those of pleasure or advantage: 
but others are so inured to observe the strictest rules of 
decency and honour, and some instances of virtue, that 
they are hardly capable of doing any thing which they 
have- been accustomed to look upon as base and un- 
worthy. 

In fine, it is no small difference in the deportment 
of mere natural men, that doth arise from the strengtb 
or weakness of their wit or judgment, and from their 
care or negligence in using them. Intemperance and 
lust, injustice and oppression, and all those other impie* 
ties which abound in the world, and render it so miser- 
able, are the issues of self-love, the effect of the ani- 
mal life, when it is neither overpowered by religion, 
nor governed by natural reason. But if it once take 
hold of reason, and get judgment and wit to be of lis 
party, it will many times disdain the grosser sort of 
vices, and spring up unto fair imitations pf virtue and. 
goodness. If a man have but so much reason as to 
consider the prejudice which intemperance and inordi- 
nate lust do bring upon his health,-.hi8 fortune, and his 
reputation, self-love may suffice to restrain him; and 
one may observe the rules of moral justice in dealing 
with others, as the best way to secure his own interest, 
and maintain hln credit in the world. But this is not 
all. This natural principle, by the help of reason, may 
take a higher flight, and come nigher the instances of 
piety and religion. It may incline a man to the dili- 
gent study of divine truths; for why should not these^ 
as well as other speculations, be pleasant and grateful 
to curious and inquisitive minds? It may make men 
zealous in maintaining and propagating such opinions as 



IN THE UOlSL OF MAN. 21 

they have espoused, aod be very desirous that othen 
shooid submit unto their jndgment, and approve the 
choice of religion which they themselves have made. It 
may make tiiem delight to hear and compose excellent 
discourses about the matters of religion; for eloquence 
is very pleasant whatever be the sabject Nay, some 
it may dispose to no small height of sensible devotion. 
Tbfi glorious things that are spoken of heaven, may 
make even a carnal heart in love with it; the metaphors 
and similitades made use of in scriptore, of crowns and 
sceptres, and rivers of pleasure, &c. will easily affect a 
man's iancy, and make him wish to be there, though 
he neither understand nor desire those spiritual pleasures 
which are described and shadowed forth by them; and 
when such a person comes to believe that Christ has 
purchased those glorious things for him, he may feel a 
kind of tenderness and afiection towards so great a be- 
nefactor, and imagine thikt he is mightily enamoured with 
him, and yet all the while continue a stranger to the 
holy temper and spirit of the blessed Jesus. And what 
hxad the natural constitution may have in the rapturous 
devotions of some melancholy persons, hath been excel- 
lently ^covered of late by several learned and judi? 
ciouB pens. 

To coneinde: there is nothing proper to make a man's 
life pleasant, or himself eminent and conspicuous in the 
vrorld,. but this natural principle, assisted by wit and 
reason, may prompt him to it. And though I do not 
condemn these things in themselves, yet it concerns us 
nearly to know and consider their nature, both that we 
may keep within due bounds, and slso that we may 
learn never to value ourselves on the account of such 
attainments, nor lay the stress of religion upon our nat- 
ural appetites or performances. 

Wherein the divine life doth consist. 

It is now time to return to the consideration of that 

divine life whereof I was discoursing before; that life 

which is hid with Christ in God, and therefore hath 

no glorioos show or appearance in the world, and to 



22 THE LIFE OF GOD 

the natural man will seem a mean and Snsipid notion 
As the anmial life consisteth in that narrow and conlin* 
ed love which is terminated on a man's self, and in his 
propension towards those things that are pleasing to na- 
tare; so the divine life stands in an universal and un- 
bounded affection, and in the mastery over our natural 
inclinations, that they may never be able to betray us 
to those things which we know to be blameable. The 
root of the divine life is faith; the chief branches are, love 
to God, charity to man, purity and humility: for (as an 
excellent person hath well observed) however these 
names be common and vulgar, and make no extraordi- 
nary sound; yet do they carry such a mighty sense, that 
the tongue of man or angel can pronounce nothing 
more weighty or excellent. Faith hath the same place 
in the divine life which sense hath in the natural, be^ 
ing indeed nothing else but p. kind of sense, or feeling 
persuasion of spiritual things. It extends itself unto all 
divine truths: but, in our lapsed estate, it Hath a pecu- 
liar relation to the declarations of God's mercy and re- 
concilableness to sinners through a Mediator; and there- 
fore, receiving its denomination from that prineipal ob- 
ject, is ordinarily termed faith in Jesus Christ* 

The love of God is a delightful and affectionate sense 
of the divine perfections, which makes the soul resign 
and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all 
things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much 
as in fellowship and communion with him, and being, 
ready to do or sutler any thing for his sake, or at his 
pleasure. Though this affection may have its first rise 
from the favours and mercies of God towards ourselves, 
yet doth it in its growth and progress transcend such par- - 
ticulur considerations, and ground itself on his infinite 
goodness manifested in all the works of creation and 
providence. A soul thus posseted with divine love, 
must needs be enlarged towards all mankind in a sincere 
and unbounded affection, because of the relation they 
have to God, being his creatures, and having something 
of his image stamped upon them. And this is that char- 
ity I named as the second branch of religion, and un4er 



IN THE SOUL OF MAN. t3 

which all the parts of justice, ail the duties we owe to 
oar neighbour, are eminently comprehended: ibr he who 
doth truly love all the world, will he nearly concerned 
in the interest of every one; and so far from wronging 
or injuring any person, that he will resent any eril that 
hefalls others, as if it happened to himself. 

By purity, I understand a due ahstractedneei from 
the Vx)dy, and mastery over the inferior appetites; or 
such a temper and disposition of mind, as makes a man 
despise, and abstain> from all pleasures and delights of 
sense or fancy which are sinfid in themselves or tend to 
extinguish or lessen ^mr relish of more dxviue and intel- 
lectnsJ pleasures; which doth also infer a resohfteness to 
nndeigo all those - hardships he may meet with m the 
performance of his duty. So that not only chastity and 
temperance, but also Christian courage anid magnanim- 
ity may come under this head. 

Humility imports a deep sense of our own weakness, 
with a hearty and affectionate acknowledgement of our 
owing all that we are to the divine bounty; which is al- 
ways accompanied with a profound submission to the 
will of God, and great deadness towards the gloiy of the 
mrorld, and applause of men. 

These are the highest perfections that either men or 
tuigels are capable of; the very foundation of heaven laid 
in the soul. And he who hapi attained them, needs not 
desue to pry into the hidden rolls of God's decrees, or 
March the volumes of heaven, to know what is deter- 
mined about his everlasting condition; but he may find 
a eopy of God's thoughts concerning him written in his 
own breast His love to God may give him assumnce 
of God's favour to him; and those beginnings of happi- 
ness which he feels in the conformity of the powers of 
Ms soul to the nature of God, and compliance with his 
will, are a sure pledge that his felicity sluJl be perfected, 
and continued to all etemUy. And it is not without rea- 
son that one said, << I had rather see the real impres- 
sioDB of a God-like nature upon my own soul, than have 
a vkiou from heaven, or an angel sent to tell mo that 
my name was enrolled in the Wkof life." 



24 THE LIFC OF GOD 

Religion better understood by actions than by 

words* 
When we have said all that we can, the secret mys* 
teries of a new nature and divine life can never be guf- 
ficiently expressed; language and words cannot reach 
them: nor can they be truly understood but by those souls 
that are enkindled within, and awakened unto the sense 
and relish of spiritual things. There is a spirit in 
man, and the inspiration of th^ Almighty giyeth 
him understanding. The power and life of religion 
may be better expressed in actions than in words; becanse 
actions are more lively things, and do better represent 
the inward principle whence they proceed; and therefore 
we may take the best measure of those gracious endow- 
ments from the deportment of those in whom they reside; 
especially as they are perfectly exemplified in the holy life 
of our blessed Saviour; a mam part of whose business in 
this world, was, to teach by his practice what he did re- 
quire of others, and to make . his own conversation an 
exact resemblance of those unparalleled rules which he 
prescribed: so that if ever true goodness was visible to 
mortal eyes, it was then when his presence did beautify 
and illustrate this lower world. 

Divine love exemplified in our Saviour: — His dili^ 
genee in doing God*s wUl^ and His patience in 
hearing it. 

That sincere and devout affection wherewith his bles^ 
sed soul did constantly bum towards his heavenly Father^' 
did express itself in an entire resignation to his will. 
It was his very meat, to do the will, and finish the 
work of him that sent him. This was the exercise 
of his childhood, and the constant employment of his 
riper age. He spared no travail or pains while he was 
about ms Father^s business, but took such infinite content 
and satisfaction in the performance of it, that when» 
being faint and weary with his journey, he rested him- 
self on Jacob's well, and entreated water of the £fama- 
ritan woman; the success of his conference with her^ 



IN THE SOUL OF MAN. 2B 

and the accession that wa^ made to the kingdom of 
God, filled his mind with such delight, as seemed to have 
redounded to his very body, refreshing his spirits, jmd 
making him forget the thirst whereof he complained be- 
fore, and refuse the meat which he had sent his disciples 
to buy. Nor was he less patient and submissive in suf- 
faring the will of God, than diligent uk doing of it. He 
endured the sharpest afflictions and extremest miseries . 
that ever were inflicted on any mortal, without a re- 
pining thought, or discontented word. For though he 
was far from a stupid insensibility, or a fantastic or Sto- 
ical obstinacy, and had as quick a sense of pain as other 
men, and the deepest apprehension of what he was to 
suffer in his soul, (as hjs bloody sweat, and the sore 
amazement-ajid sorroto which he professed, do abnn- 
dauitly declare) ; yet did he entirely submit to that severe 
dispensation of providence, and willingly acquiesced 
in it. 

And he prayed to God, that if it were possible, (or, 
as one of the Evangelists hath it, if he were willing y) 
that cup might be removed; yest he gently added, 
J\revertheless, not my willt but thine be done. Of 
what cttrange importance are the expressions, John xii. 
27, where he first acknowledgeth the anguish of his 
spirit, JVow is my soul troubled; which would seem 
to produce a kind of demur, And what shall I say? 
and then he goes on to depreoate his sofierings. Fath- 
er, save me from this hour; which he had no sooner 
uttered, but he doth, as it were, on second thoughts, 
recall it, in these words. But for this cause came I 
into the world; and concludes. Father, glorify thy 
name. Now, we must not look on this as any levity, 
or blameable weakness in the blessed Jesus. He knew 
all along what he was to suffer, and did most resolute- 
ly undergo it. But it shows us the inconceivable weijght 
and pressure that he was to bear; which, being so afflict- 
ing, and contrary to nature, he could not think of with- 
out terror; yet, considering the will of God, and the glo- 
ry which was to redound to him from thence, he was 
not only content bntdesirous to suffer it. 
8 



26 THE CIFE OF GOD 

Our Saviotur^s constant devotion* 
Another itistance of his love to God, was, his de- 
light in conversing with him by prayer; which made. 
wn frequently retire from the world, and with the 
greatest devotion and pleasure spend whole nights in 
that heavenly exercise, uiongh he had no sins to confess, 
and but few secular interests to pray for; which, alas! 
are almost, the only things that are wont to drive us to 
our devotions. Nay, we. may say his whole life was a 
kind of prayer, a constant course of communion with 
God; if the sacrifice was not alwa3r8 offering, yet was 
the fire still kept alive: nor wa/ever the blessed Jesus 
■uTprised with that dulness or tepidity of spirit which 
we must many times wrestle with, before we can be fit 
for the exercise of devotion. 

Our Samour*8 charity to men. 
In the second place, I should speak of his love and 
eharity towards all men. But he who would express it, 
must transcribe the history of the gospel, and comment 
npon it: for scarce any tning is recorded to have been 
done or spoken by Jiim, which was not designed for the 
good and advantage of some one or other. All his mir* 
acnlouB works were instances of his goodness, as well 
as his power; and they benefited those on whom they 
were wrought, as well as they amazed the beholders. 
His charity was not confined to his kindred or relations; 
nor was all his kindness swallowed up in the endear- 
ments of that peciiliar friendship which he carried to- 
wards the beloved disciple, but every one was his friend 
who obeyed his holy commands y John xv. 14; and 
whosoever did thi will of his Father, the same was 
to him as his brother, and sister, and mother. 

Never was any unwelcome to him who came with 
an honest intention; nor did he deny any request which 
tended to the good of those that asked it. So that what 
was spoken of that Roman Emperor, whom for his 
goodness they called the darHng of mankind, was 
really performed by him; that never any departed from 



IN THE 80UL OF SIAN. 27 

him with a heavy coactenance, except that rich yoatfa, 
Mark x. who was sorry to hear that the hinjjdoin of 
heaven stood at so high a rate, and that he could not nvo 
his soul and his nr.oney too. And certainly it tronb* 
led our Saviour, to see that when a price was in hit 
hand to get wisdom, yet he had no heart to h.' The 
' ingenuity that appeared in his first addrese, had already 
procured some kindness for him; for it is aaid, and /«• 
sua heholding him, loved him. But must he for hit 
sake cut oat a new way to heaven, and alter the nature 
of things, which make it impossible that a covetooi 
man should be happy? , 

And what shall 1 speak of his meekness, who could 
encounter the monstitjus ingretitode and ditsimulatioa 
of that miscreant who betrayed him, in no harsher tomt 
than these, Juda.t, betrayest thou the Son of meat 
ioith a kiss? What further evidence conld we desire of 
his fervent and unbounded charity, than that he willingly 
laid down bis life even for his most bitter eoeroiet; and, 
mingling his prayers with his blood, besoogltttbe Father 
that bis death might not be laid to their ehaige, but 
might become tlie means of eternal life to those very per* 
sons who procured it? 

Our Saviour^s purity. 
The third branch of the divine life is purity; which, 
as I said, consists in a neglect of worldly enjoyments 
and accommodations, and a resolute enduring of all tach 
troubles as we meet with in the dobg of our duty. 
Now, surely, if ever any person was wholly dead*to 
ail the pleasures of the nutmal life, it was the bletsfd 
Jesus, who seldom tus^ted them when they came in his 
way; but never stepped out of his road to seek them. 
Though he allow<?d others the comforts of wedlock, and 
honoured marriage with his presence; yet he chose the 
severity of a virgin life, and never knew the nuptial bed; 
and though at the smne time he nupplied the want of 
Vi^ine with a miracle, yet he would not work one for the 
relief of his own hunger in the wilderness: so gracious 
and di> ine wius tiie temper of hisi«ou1, in allowing to Olh- 



28 THE I/irE OF GOD 

era such lawful gratifications as himself thought good to 
abstain from, and supplying not only their more extreme 
and pressing necessities, but also llieir smaller and less 
coni^iderable wants. We many times hear of our Sa- 
yiour'Ef sighs, and groans, and tears; but never that he 
laughed, and but once that he rejoiced in spirit; so that 
through his whole life he did exactly answer that char- 
acter given of him by the prophet of old, that he was a 
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Nor 
were the troubles and disaccommodations of his life 
other than matters of choice. For never did there any 
appear on the stage of the world with greater advantage 
to have raised himself to the highest secular felicity. He 
who could bring together such a prodigious number of 
fishes into his disciples' net, and, at another time, receive 
that tribute from a fish which he was to pay to the tem- 
ple, might easily have made himself the richest person 
in the world. Nay, without any money he could have 
maintained an army powerful enough to have jostled Ce- 
sar out of his throne; having<oftener than once fed several 
thousands with a few loaves and small fishes. But, to 
show how small esteem he had of all the enjoyments in 
the world, he chose to live in so poor and mean, a con- 
dition, that though the foxes had holes, and the 
birds of the air had nests, yet he who was lord and 
heir of all things, had not whereon to lay his head. 
He did not frequent the courts of princes, nor affect 
the acquaintance or converse of great ones; but, being 
reputed the son of a carpenter, he had fishermen and 
such other poor people for his companions, and lived at 
such a rate as suited with the meanness of that condition. 

Our Saviour^s humility. 
And thus I am brought unawares to speak of his hu- 
mility, the last branch of the divine life; wherein he 
was a most eminent pattern to .us, that we might learn 
of him to be meek and lowly in heart. I shall not 
now speak of that infinite condescension of the'eternal 
Son of God, in taking our nature upon him; but only 
reflect on our Saviour's luwiy and humble deportment 



IN THE SOUL OF MAN. £# 

while he was in the world. He had none of those oins 
and imperfections which may justly humble the best of 
men; but he was so entirely swallowed up with a deep 
sense of the infinite perfections of God, that he appeared 
as nothing in his own eyes, I mean, so far as he was 
a creature. He considered those eminent perfections 
which shined in his blessed soul, as not his own, but the 
gifts of God; and therefore assumed nothing to himself 
for them, but with the profoundest humility renounced 
all pretences to them. Hence did he reftise that ordi- 
naiy coinpellation of good master, when addressed to 
his human nature, by one whom it seems was ignorant 
of his divinity; W7iy ealleat thou me good? there U 
none good, but God only: As if he had said, The 
goodness of any creature (and such only thou tokest me 
to be) is not worthy to be named or taken notice of; 
it is God alone who .is originally and essentially good. 
He never made use of his miraculous po\ver for vanity 
or ostentation. He would not gratify the curiosity of the 
Jews with a sign from heaven, 'some prodigious appear-, 
ance in the air: nor would he follow the advice of liii 
countrymen and kindred, who would have had all his 
great works performed m t^le eyes of the world, for gain- 
ing him the greater fame. But when his charity had 
prompted him to the relief of the miserable, his humility 
made him many times enjom the concealment of tlie 
miracle; and when the glory of God, and the design for 
which he came into the world, required the publication 
of them, he ascribed the honour of all to his Father, tell- 
ing them, that of himself he was able to dq nothing, 
I cannot insist on all the instances of humility in his 
deportment towards men ; his withdrawing himself when 
they would have made him a king, his subjection, not 
only to his blessed mother ,^ but to her husband, during 
his younger years; and his submission to all the indig- 
nities and affronts which his rude and malicious enemies 
did put upon him. The history of his holy life, record- 
ed by those who conversed with him, is full of such 
passages as these. And indeed the serious «nd attentive 
fitudy of it, is the best way to got right measures of hu 
a* 



30 THE L.IFE OP GOD 

niility, and all the other parts of religion which I have 
been endeavouring to describe. 

But now, that I may lessen your trouble of reading a 
long letter, by making some pauses in it, let me here 
subjoin a prayer that might be proper when one who 
had formerly entertained some false notions of religion, 
begins to discover wbi^t it is. ^ 

A PRAYER. 

' * Infinite and eternal Majesty, author and fountain 
of being and blessedness, how little do we poor sinful 
creatures know of thee, or the way to serve and please 
thee! We talk of religion, and pretend unto it; but alas! 
how few are there tliat know and consider what it means! 
How easily do we mistake the affections of our nature, 
and the issues of self-love for those divine graces which 
alone can render us acceptable in thy sight! It may justly 
grieve me, to consider, that I should have wandered so 
long, and contented myself so oflen with vain shadows 
and false images of piety and religion: yet I cannot but 
acknowledge and adore thy goodness, who hast been 
pleased in some measure to open mine eyes, and let me 
see what it is at which I ought to aim. I rejoice to 
consider what mighty improvements my nature is capa- 
ble of, and what a divine temper of spirit doth shine in 
those whom thou art pleased to choose, and CE^usest to 
approach unto thee. Blessed be thine infinite mercy, 
who sentest thine own Son to dwell among men, and 
td instruct them by his example as well as his laws, 
giving them a perfect pattern of what they ought to be. 
O that the holy life of the blessed Jesus may* be always . 
in my thoughts, and before mine eyes, till I receive a 
deep sense and impression of those excellent graces that 
shined so eminently in hhn; and let me never cease my 
endeavouls, till that new and divine nature prevail in 
my soul and Christ be formed within me.' 

The excellency and advantage of religion. 
And now, my dear friend, having discovered the 
nature of true religion, before I proceed any further, it 



IN THB SOUL OF MAN. 81 

will not perhaps be unfit to fix onr meditations a little 
on the excellency and advantages of it; that we may be 
excited to the mor^ vigoroos and diligent prosecution of 
those niethods whereby we may attain so great a feli- 
city. But alas! what words shall we find to express 
that inward satisfaction, those hidden pleasures which can 
never be rightly understood, but by those holy souls who 
feel them? ^A stranger intermeeUlleth not with their 
joy. Holiness is the - right temper, the vigorous and 
healthful constitution of the soul. Its faculties had for- 
merly been enfeebled and disordered, so that they could 
not exercise their natural functions; it had wearic^i itself 
with endless tossings and rollings, and was never able to 
find any rest: now, that distemper being removed, it 
feels itself well; there is a due harmony in its faculties, 
and a sprightly vigour possesseth every part. The un- 
derstanding can discern what is good, and the will can 
cleave unto it: the affections arc not tied to the mo- 
tions of sense, and the influence of external objects; but 
they are stirred by more divine impressions, are touched 
by a sense of invisible things. 

IVic excellency of divine love. 
Let us descend, if you please, into a nearer and more 
particular view of religion, in those several branches of 
it which were named before. Let us consider that love 
and affection wherewith holy souls are united to God, 
that we may see what excellency and felicity is involved 
in it. Love is that powerful and prevalent passion, by 
which all the faculties and inclinations of the soul are 
determined, and on which both its perfection and hap- 
piness depend. The worth and excellency of a soul is 
to be measured by the object of its Ipve. He who lov- 
eth mean and sordid things, doth thereby become base 
and vile; but a noble and well-placed affection, doth 
advance and improve the spirit into a conformity with 
the perfections which it loves. The images of these do 
frequently present themselves unto the mind, and, by a 
secrtJt force and energy, insinuate into tlie very consti- 
. tution of the spul, and mould and fashion it unto their 



32 TH£ LIFE OF GOO 

own likeness. Hence we may see how easily Tovew or 
friends do slide into the imitation of the persons whom 
they affect, and how, even before they are aware, they 
begin to resemble theni, not only in the more consider- 
able instances of their deportment, but also in their voice 
and gesture, and thaf -which we call their mein and air. 
And certainly 'we should as w^ell tnmscribe the virtues 
and inward beauties of the soul, if they were the object 
and motive of our love. But no\v, as all the creatures 
we converse with have their mixture and alloy, we are 
atw^ays in hazard to be sullied and corrupted by placing 
our affections on them. Passion doth easily blind our 
eyes, so that we first approve, and then imitate the 
things that are blameable in them. The true way to 
improve and ennoble our souls, is, by fixing our love on 

' the divine perfections, that we may have them always 
before us, and derive an impression of them on ourselves, 
and beholding ivith open face, as in a glass, the 
glory of the Lord, we may be changed into the 

, same ifnage, from glory to glory. He who with a 
generous and holy ambition hath raised his eyes toward.^ 
that uncreated beauty and goodness, and fixed his affec- 
tion there, is quite of another spirit, of a more excellent 
and heroic temper than the rest of the world; and can- 
not butjnfinitely disdain all mean and unworthy, things; 
will not entertain any low or base thoughts which might 
disparage his high and noble pretensions. Love is the 
greatest and most excellent thing we are^nasters of; and 
therefore it is folly and baseness to bestow it unworthily. 
It is indeed the only thing we can call our own. Other 
things may be taken from us by violence; but none can 
ravish our love. If any thing else be counted ours, by 
giving our love we give all, so far as we make over our 
hearts and wills, by which we possess t)ar other enjoy- 
ments. It is not possible to refuse him any thing, to 
whom by love we have given ourselves. Nay, since it 
is the privilege of gifts to receive their value from the ' 
mind of the giver, and not to be measured by the event, 
but by the desire; he who loveth may in some sense be 
iaid not only to bestow all that he hath, but all things 



IN THE SOVI< OF MAN. 33 

else which may make the beloved penon happy, since 
he doth heartily wish them, and would readily give them» 
if they were in his power. In which sense it is that 
one makes bold to say. That divine love doth in a 
manner give God unto himself, by- the complacency 
it takes in the happiness and perfection of his na- 
ture. But though this may seem too strained an ex- 
pression, certainly love is the worthiest present we can 
offer unto God; and it is extremely debfuMd when we be- 
stow it another way. 

When this affection is misplaced, it doth often vent 
itself in such expressions as point at its genuine and 
proper object, and insinuate where it ought to be placed. 
The flattering and blasphemous terms of adoration, 
wherein men do sometimes express their passion, are 
the language of that affection which was maide and de- 
signed for God; as he who is accustomed to speak to 
some great person, doth, perhaps, unawares, accost 
another with those titles he was wont to give to him. 
But certainly that passion which accounteth its object 
a Deity, ought to be bestowed on him who really is so. 
Those unlimited submissions, which would debase the 
soul if directed to any other, will exalt and ennoble it 
when placed here. Those chains and cords of love are 
infinitely more glorious than liberty itself; this slavery 
J8 more noble tluin all the empires in the world. 

The advantages of divine love. 
Again, as divine love doth advance and elevate the 
soul, so it is that alone which can make it happy. The 
highest and most ravishing pleasures, the most 'solid and 
substantial delights, that human nature is capable of, are 
those which arise from the endearments of a well-placed 
and successful affection. That which imbitters love, 
and makes it ordinarily a very troublesome and hurtful 
passion, is the placing it on those who have not worth 
enough to deserve it, or afiection and gratitude to re- 
quire it, or whose absence may deprive us of the plea- 
sure of their converse, or their miseries occasion our 



34 THE LIFK or GOD 

trqublie. To all these evils are they exposed, whose 
chief and sapreme aSection is placecl on creatures lik^ 
themselves: bat the love of God delivers us from them 
all. 

The worth of the object. 

First, I say, love must needs be miserable, and full 
of trouble and disquietude, when there is not wortli and 
excellency enough in the object to answer the vastness 
of its capacity. So eager and violent a passion, cannot 
but fret and torment the spirit, where it nnds not where- 
with id satisfy its cravings. And, indeed, so large and un- 
bounded is its nature, that it must be extremely pinched, 
and straitened, when confined to any creature; nothing' 
below an infinite good can afford it room to stretch itself, 
and exert its vigour and activity. What is a little akin> 
deep beauty, or some small degrees of goodness, to 
match or satisfy a passion which was m^e for God, 
designed to embrace an infinite good? No wonder 
lovers do so hardly suffer any rival, and do not desire ' 
that others should approve their passion by imitating 
it. They know the scantiness and narrowness of the 
good which they love, that it cannot sxiffice two, being 
in effect too little for one. Hence love, which is strong 
as death, oeoasioneth jealousy which is cruel as the 
grave; the coals whereof are coals of fire, which hath 
a most violent flame. 

But divine love hath no mixture of this gall; when 
once the soul is fixed on that supreme and all-sufficient 
good, it finds so much perfection and goodness, as doth 
not only answer and satisfy its afifectiou, but master and 
overpower it too: it finds all its love to be too faint and 
languid for such a noble object, and is only sorry that 
it can command no more. It wisheth for the flames of 
a-^seraph, smd longs for the time when it shall be wholly 
melt^I and dissolved into love: and because it can do so 
little Itself, it desires the assistance of the whole creation, 
that angels and men would concur with it in the admi- 
ration and love of those iitfinite perfections 



IN THE SOUZ. OF MAN. 36 

The certainty to be beloved again. 
Again, love is accompanied with trouble, when it 
misseth a suitable return of affection: love is the most 
valuable thing we can bestow, and by giving it, we do 
in efi^ give all that we have; and therefore it needs 
most be afflicting to find so great a gift despised, that the 
present which one hath made of his whole heart, cannot 
prevail to obtain any return. Perfect love is a kind of 
self-€lereliction, a wandering out of ourselves; it is a kind 
of voluntary death, wherein the lover dies to himself, 
and all his own interest, not thinking of them, nor car- 
ing for them any more, and minding nothing but how he 
maj please and gratify the party whom he loves. Thus 
he is quite undone unless he meets w;ith reciprocal affec- 
tion; he neglects himself, and the other hath no regard 
10 him; but if he be beloved, he is revived, as it were, 
and liveth in the soul and care of the person whom he 
loves; and now he begins to mind' hits own concern- 
ments, not so much because they are his, as because the 
beloved is pleasod to own an interest in them. He be- 
comes dear unto himself, because he is so unto the other. 
But why should I enlarge on so known a matter? 
NotMng can be more clear, ,than that the happiness of 
love depjends on Uie return it meets with. And herein 
the divine lover hath unspeakably the advantage, having 
placed his affection on him whose nature is love; whoso 
goodness is as infinite as his being; whose mercy preven- 
ted us when we were his enemies, therefore cannot 
choose but embrace us when we are become his friends. 
It is utterly impossible that God should deny his love to 
a soul whoUy devoted to him, and which desires nothing 
so much as to serve and please him. He cannot disdain 
his own image, nor the. heart in which it is engraven. 
Love is all the tribute which we can pay him, and it ib 
the sacrifice which he will not despise. 

The presence of the beloved person. 
Another thing which disturbs the pleasure of love, and 
renders it a miserable and unquiet passion, is absence 



S6 THE LIFE OF. GOD 

and separation from those we love. It is not without > 
a sensible aOiictiou that friends do part, though for some 
little time. It is sad to be deprived of that society 
which is se delightful ; our life becomes tedious, being 
Bpent in an impatient expectation of the happy hour 
wherein we may meet again. But if death' bath made 
the separation, as sometime or other it must, this occa- 
sions a grief scarce to be paralleled by all the misfor- 
tunes of human life, and wherein we pay -dear enough 
for the comforts of our friendship. But O how happy 
are those wlio have placed their love on him who can 
never be absent from them! They need but open their 
eyes, ahd th«y shall every where behold the traces of 
his presence and glory, and converse with him whom 
their soul loveth. And this makes the darkest prison, 
or the wildest desert, not only supportable, but delight- 
ful to them. 

The divine love makes us partake of an infinite 
happiness. 

In fine, a lover is miserable if the person whom M 
loveth be so. They who have made an exchange of 
hocarts by love, get thereby an interest in one another's 
happiness and misery : and this makes love a troublesome 
passion when placed on earth. The most fortunate per- 
son hath grief enough to mar the tranquillity of his friend; 
and it is hard to hold out, when we are attacked on all 
hands, and suffer not Only in our own person but in anoth-^ 
er's. But if God were the object of our love, we should 
share in an infinite happiness, without any mixture or pos- 
sibility of diminution; we should rejoice to behold the 
glory of God, and receive comfort and pleasure from all 
the praises wherewith men and angels do extol him. 
It should delight us beyond all expression, to consider, 
that the beloved of our souls is infinitely hippy in him- 
self, and that all his enemies cannot shake or unsettle 
his throne; that our God is in the heavens, and doth 
whatsoever he pleaseth. 

Behold, on what dure foundations his happiness is buUt, 
whose soul is possessed with divine love; whose will is 



rsr THE SOUL of man. ST 

transformed into the will of God, and whoMgrenteA de- 
sire is, fliat his maker should be pleased. O the peace, 
the rest, the satisfaction that attendeth such a temper of 
fliind! 

He l^at loveth Godfipds tvoeetnen in every 
dispensettion. 
What an infinite pleasure orast it needs be, thus, as it 
were, to los6 ourselves in him, and, being swallowed up 
in the overcoming sense of his goodness, to offer ourselves 
a living sacnfice, always ascending unto him in flames 
of love! Never tdoth a soul know what solid joy and 
substantial pleasure is, till, once being weaiy of Itself, it 
lenoanoes all property, gives i^lf up to the author of 
its 'being, and feels itself become a hallowed and devoted 
thing; and can say, from an inward sense and feeling. 
My belwedis mine, (I account all his interest nune 
own) and I am his: I am content to be any thing for 
hinFL, and eaie net for myself, bat that I may serve him. 
A person moulded into this temper, would find pleasvm 
r in all the di^nsations of providence. Temporal enjoy- 
oients would have another relish, when he should taste 
the divine goodness in them, and.considor them as tokens 
of love sent by his deaisest Lord and master. And chas- 
tisements, though they be not joyous but grievous, 
would hereby lose their sting: the rod as well as the staff 
would oomfort Kim: he would snatch a kiss from the 
hand that was smiting him, aad gather sweetness from 
diat severity. Nay, he wouM rejoice, that though God 
did not the will of such a worthless and foolish creature 
as himseMV yet he did his own will, and accomplished 
his own designs, which are infinitely more holy and 



The duties of JReligian are delightful to him, 
^ The exerdses of religion i which to others are insipid 
and tedious, do yield the highest pleasure and delight to 
flonls possessed with divine love. They rejoice when 
they. are called 4o go up to the house of the Xord, 
thalthfl^ may see his pouyer and his glory, as they 
4 



38 THE LIFE OF GOD 

have formerly seen it in his sanctuary. Thoy never 
think diemselves bo happy as when, having retired from 
the world, and gotten free from the noise and hurry of 
afiain^ and silenced all their clamorous passions, (thosa 
trpuhlesome guests witliin,) they have placed themselves 
in the presence of God, and entertain fellowship and 
conununion with him. They delight to adore his per- 
fections, and recount his favours, and to protest their 
affection to him, and tell him a thousand times that they 
love htm; to lay oat their troubles or wants before him, 
and disburden their hearts in his bosom. Repentance 
itself is a delightful exercise, when it floweth from the 
principle of love: there is a secret sweetness which ac- 
corapanieth those tears of remorse, those meltings and 
relentings of a soul returning unto God, and lamenting 
its former unkindness. 

The severities of a holy life, and that constant watch 
which we are obliged to keep over our hearts and ways, . 
are very troublesome to those who are overruled and 
acted by an external law, and have no law in their 
minds inclining them to the performance of their duty. 
But whore divine love possesseth the soul, it stands as 
sentinel to keep out every thing that may offend the bo- 
loved, and doth dudainfuUy repulse those temptations 
which assault it It complieth cheerfully, not only with 
explicit conunands, but with the most secret notices of 
the beloved's pleasure; and is ingenious in discovering 
-what will be most grateful and acceptable unto him* 
It makes mortification and self-denial change tlieir heunsh 
and droadful names, and become easy, sweet and de- 
Jightful things. 

But I find this part T)f my letter swell bigger than I 
designed: indeed who would not be tempted to dwell 
on so pleasant a theme? I shall endeavour to compensate 
h by brevity in the other points. 

OThe excellency of charity* 
The next branch of the divine life is an universal chanty 
and love. The excellency of thiis grace will be easily 
Acknowledged. For what can be more noble and geuer- 



IN THE SOUIi OF MAX. 89 

ons than a heart enlarged to embrace the whole-world, 
whose wishes and designs are levelled at the good and 
welfare of the universe, which considereth every man's 
interest as its own? He who loveth his neigfahonr aa 
himself can never entertaiit any base or injurious thought, 
or be wanting in expressions of bonnty: he had ratbtr 
suffer a thousand wrongs, than be gmhy of one; and 
never accounts himself happy, but when some one or 
other hath been benefited by him. The malice or in- 
gratitude of men is not able to resist his love: he over- 
looks their injuries, and pities their folly, and overcomes 
their evil with good; and never designs any other revenge 
against his most bitter and malicious enemies, than to 
put all the obligations he can upon them, whether they 
will or not. Is it any wonder that such a peison be re- 
verenced and admired, and accounted the darling of 
mankind? This inward goodness and benignity of spirit 
reflects a certain sweetness and serenity upon the very 
connienance, and makes it amiable and lovely. It in- 
spireth llie soul with a noble resolution and courage, and 
mak^ it capable of enterprising and effecting the high- 
est things. Those heroic actions which we are wont 
to read with admlratk>n, have for the most part beeq 
the e^cts of the love of one's country, or of particular 
fi'iendships; and certainly a more extensive and universal 
affection must be much more powerful and efhcacious. 

The pleasure that attends charity. 
Again, as charity flows from a noble and excellent 
temper, so it is accompanied with the greatest sntisfac- 
. tion and pleasure. It delights the soul to feel itself thus 
enlarged, and to be delivered from those disquieting a« 
well as deformed passions, malice, hatred, and envy^ 
and become gentle, sweet, and benign. Had I my 
choice of all things that might tend to my present fblio- 
ity, I would pitch upon tins, to have my heart pos- 
sessed with the greatest kindness and affection tOMcardi 
■all men in the world. I am sure this would make me. 
partake in all the happiness of others; their inward en- ' 
dowraentd, and outward prosperity; every thing that didr 



40 THE LirS OF' GOO 

benefit and advantage tbeixiy wmrid afford me comfort 
and pleasure. And thongb I should frequently meet 
with occasions of grief and compassion, yet there is a 
sweetness^ in commiseration, wbicii makes it infinitelj 
more desirable than a stupid insensibility: and the con- 
sideration of that infinite goodn^ and wisdom which 
governs the world, might repress any excessive trouble 
K>r particular calamities that happen in i^: aod the hopes 
or possibility of men's after-happkiess, might moderate 
their sorrow for their present misfortunes. Certainly,. 
»ext to the lovci and enjoyment of God, that ardent 
charity and affection wherewith blessed souls do embrace- 
fine another, is justly to be reckoned b9 the greatest fe^ 
)icity of those regidns above: and did it universally pre^ 
vail in the world, it would anticipate that blessedness, 
and make us taste of the joys of heaven upon earth. 

The excellency of purity. 
That which I named as a third branch of religion, wa» 
purity: and you may remember I described it to consist 
^in a contempt of sensual pleasures, and resoluteness to 
undergo those troubles and pains we may meet with in ^ 
the performance of our duty. Now, the naming of this 
may suffice to reccnnmend it as a most noble and excel-* 
lent quality. There is no slavery so base, as that 
whereby a man becomes a drudge to his own lusts; nor 
any victory so glorious, as that Which is obtained over 
them. Never can that person be capable of any thing 
that is noble and worthy,^ who is sunk in the gross and 
feculent pleasures of sense, or bewitched with the light' 
and airy gratifications of fancy. But the religious soul 
is of a more sublime and divine temper; it knows it, was 
made for higher things, and scorns to step aside one 
foot out of £e way of holiness, for the obtaining any 
of these. 

7%e delight afforded by purity. 
And this purity is accompanied with a great deal of 
pleasure: whatsoever defiles the soul disturbs it too; all 
impure delights have a sting in tbem, and leave smart 



IN THE SOUl. OF MW. 4J 

itnd Irouble behind them. F.xcess and intemperance, 
and all inordinate lusts, are so much enemies to the 
health of the body, and the interest!; of this present life, 
that a little consideration might oblige any rational man 
to forbear them on that very score: and if the religious 
person go higher, and do not on}y abstain from noxious 
pleasures, but neglect those that are innocent, this is 
not to be looked upon as any violent and uneasy re- 
straint, but as the effect of better choice, tliat their 
niinds are taken up in the pursuit of more sublime and re- 
Hned delights, so that they cannot bo concerned in these. 
Any person that is engaged in a violent and passionate 
aftection, will easily forget his ordinary gratifications, 
will be little curious about his diet, or his bodily ease, 
or the divertisenients he was %vont to. delight in. No 
wonder then if souls overpowered with divine love, des- 
pise inferior pleasures, and be almost ready to grudge 
the body its necessary attendance for the common ac- 
commodations of life, judging all these impertinent to 
their main happiness, and those higher enjoyments they 
are pursuing. As for the hardships they meet with, 
they rejoice in them, as opportunities to exercise and 
testify their affection: and since they are able to do so lit- 
tle for God, they are glad of the honour to suffer for him. 

The excellency of humility. 
The last branch of religion is humility; and how- 
ever to vulgar and carnal eyes this may appear an ab- 
ject, base, .and despicable quality, yet really the soul 
of man is not capable of a liigher and more noble en- 
dowment It is a Hilly ignorance that begets pride: 
but hamility arises from a nearer acquaintance with 
excellent things, which keeps men from denting on 
trifles, or admiring themselves because of some pretty 
attainments. Noble and well educated souls iiave 
no such high opinion of riches, beauty, strength, and 
other such like advantages, as to value themselves 
for them, or despise those that want them: and as 
for inward worth and real goodness, the sense they 
have of the divine perfeoiiona makes tliem think very 
4* 



i 



42 THE LIFE OF GOD 

meanly of any thing they tiave hitherto attained, and 
he Ml endeavonruig to surmount themselves, and 
make nearer approaches to those infinite excellencies 
which they admire. 

I know not what thoughts people may have of hu- 
mility, hat I see almost every person pretending to 
it, and shunning such expressions and actions as may 
make ^ them be accounted arrogant and presumptuous; 
so that those who are most desirous of praise, will be 
loth to commend themselves. What are all those com- 
plunents and modes of civility, so frequent in our ordin- 
ary converse, but so many protestations of the esteem 
(?f oUiers, and the low thoughts we have of ourselves; 
'and must not that humility be n noble and excellent en- 
dowment, when the very shadows of it are accounted 
80 necessary a part of good breeding? 

The pleasure and sweetness of an humble temper. 
Again, this grace, is acconipanied with a great deal 
of happiness and tranquillity: the proud and arrogant 
person is a trouble to all that converse with him, but 
most of all unto himself; every thing is enough to vex 
him; but scarce any thing is sufficient to content and 
please him. He is ready to quarrel with every thing 
that falls out, as if he himself wore such a considerable 
person, that God Almighty should do every thing to~ 
gratify him, and all the creatures of heaven and earth 
should wait upon him, and obey his will. The leaves 
of high trees do shake with every blast of wind: and 
every breath, every evil word will disquiet and torment 
an arrogant man: but the humble person hath the ad- 
vantage when he is despised, that none can think more 
meanly of him than he doth of himself; and therefore 
he b not troubled at the matter, but can easily bear 
those reproaches which wound the other to the soul. 
And withal, as he is less affected with injuries, so in- 
deed he is less obnoxious unto them: contention, which 
eotneth of pride, betrays a man into a thousand incoiv- 
veniences, which those of a meek and lowly temper 
seldom meet with. True and genuine homiliiy beget- 



IK THE SOUI« OF MAN. 4S 

teth both a veneration and love among all wise and dis- 
ceming penons; while pride defeateth its own design, 
and depriveth a man of that honour it makes him pre- 
tend to. 

But as the chief exercises 6f hnmitity are those which 
i*e]ate unto Almighty God, so these are accompanied 
with the greatest satisfaction and sweetness. It is im- 
possible to express the great pleasure and delight which 
ieligious persons feel in the lowest prostration of their 
Bonis before God, when, having a deep sense of the di- 
vine majesty and glory, they sink (if I. may so speak) 
to the bottom of their beings, and vanish and disappear 
m the presence of God, by a serious and affectionate 
acknowledgment of their own nothingness, and the short- 
ness and imperfections of their attainments; when they 
understand the full moae and emphasis of the Psalm- 
i8t*s exclamation, Lord, what is man! and can utter 
it with the same affection. Never did any haughty and 
amfoitioiis persqn receive the praises and applauses of 
men with so much pleasure, as the humble and reli- 
gions do renounce them: J>rot unto us, O Lord, not 
unto us, but unto thy name, give glory, iire. 

Thus have I spoken somcithing of me excellencies and 
advantage of religion in its several branches; but should 
be very injurious to the subject, did I pretend to have 
given any perfect liccount of it. Let us acquaint our- 
selves with it, my dear friend; let us acquaint oureelves 
with it, and experience will teach us more than all that 
ever bath been spoken or written concerning it. But if 
we may suppose the soul to be already awakened unto 
some longing desires after so great a blessedness, it will 
be good to five them vent and suffer them to issue forth 
m some sueii aspirations as these: 

A PRAYER. " 

* Good God! what a mighty felicity is this to which 
we are called! How graciously hast thou joined our duty 
and happiness together; and prescribed that for our work, 
the peribnnance whereof is a great reward! And shall 
Bttch silly womis be advanced to so great a height? Wilt 



44 THE LIFE OF GfTD 

thou allow US to raise our eyes to thee? Wilt thou admit 
uiid accept our aflection? Shall we receive the impression 
of thy divine excellencies, by beholding and admiring 
them, and partake ofthy infinite blessedness and glory, by 
loving thee, and rejoicing in them? O the happiness of 
those souls that have broken the fetters of self-love, and 
disentangled tlieir affection from every n.arrow and par- 
ticular good ; whose understandings are enlightened by 
the Holy Spirit^'and their wills enlarged to the extent 
of thine; who love thee above all things ^.and all man- 
kind for thy sake! I am persuaded, O God! I am per- 
suaded, that I can never be happy, till my carnal and 
corrupt -affections be mortified, and the pride and vanity 
of my spirit be subdued, and till I come seriously to de- 
spise the world, and think nothing of myself. But O 
when shall it once be! O when will^thou come unto me, 
and satisfy my soul with thy likeness, making me holy 
as thou art holy, even in all manner of conversation! 
Hast thou given me a prospect of so great a felicity, 
and wilt thou not bring me unto it? Hast thou excited 
these desires in my souU and wilt thou not' also satisfy 
them? O teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God; 
thy spirit is good, lead me unto the land of uprightness. 
Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake, and perfect 
that which concemeth me. Thy mercy* O Lonl, en- 
dnreth for ever; forsake not the work of thine own 
hands.' 



The despondent thoughts of some newly awakened 
to a right sense of things, 
I HAVE hitherto considered wherein true religion 
doth consist, and how desirable a thing Jt is. But when 
one sees how infinitely distant the common temper and 
frame of men are from it, he may perhaps be ready to 
despond and give over, and think it utterly impossible 
to be attained. He may sit down in sadness, and be- 
moan himself, and say, in the anguish and bittcmesspC 
his spirit, "They are hnppy indeed whoso souls are 



IN THE »OfUh or MAN. 4& 

awakened unto the divine life, who am thus renewed in 
the spirit of their minds. But, alav! I am quite of 
another constitution, and am not able to effect so migh- 
ty a change* If outward ofeservances could have done 
rae businear, I might have hoped to acquit myself bj 
diligence and care: but since nothing but a B0w nature 
can serve the turn, what am I able to do ? I could h»- 
stow all my goods in oblations to God, or alms to the 
poor; but cannot cvmmand that love and cfanvity, with- 
out which thitB expense would profit me nothkc. This 
gift of God cannot be purchased with money. If a man 
tihanld give s\\ the substance of his house for love, it 
would utterly be contemned. I could pine and macerate 
my body, and undergo many hardships and troubles; but 
I caAnot get all my corruptions starved, nor my affections 
wholly weaned from earthly things: there are still some 
worldly desires lurking in my heart; and those vanities 
that I have shut out of the doors, are always getting in 
by the windows. I am many times convinced of my 
own meanness, of the weakness of my body, and the 
far greater weakness of my soul; but this doth rather 
beget indignation and discontent, than true humility in 
my spirit: and though I should come to think meanly of 
myself, yet I cannot endure that others should thiuK so 
too. In a word, when I r^leoC on my highest and most 
specious attainments, I have reason to suspect, that they 
are all but the efiects of nature, the issues of self-love 
acting under several disguises: and thb principle is so 

Gwerful and so deeply rooted in me, tlmt I can never 
pe to be delivered fiom the dominion of it. I may 
toss and turn as a door on the hinges ; but can never set 
dear off, or be quite unhinged of self, which is stfll me 
centre of all my motions. So that all the advantage I 
can draw from the discovery of religion, is but to see 
at a huge distance that felicity which I am not able to 
reach; like a man in a shipwreck, who discerns the 
land, and envies the happiness of those who are there» 
but thinks it impossible for himself to get ashore *' 



4^ THE I.irS OP GOD 

The unreasonableness of these fears. . 
These, I say, or such like desponding thoughts, mnj 
arise in the minds of those persons who begin to conceive 
somewhat more of the nature and excellency ofreligion 
than before. They have spied the land, and seen that 
it is exceeding good; that it fioweth with milk and hon^ 
ey; bat they find they have the children of Anak to 
grapple with; many powerful lusts and corruptions to 
overcome, and they fear they shall never prevail against 
them. But why should we give way to such discour- 
aging suggestions? why should we entertain such unrea- 
sonable fears, which damp our spirits, and weaken our 
hands, and augment the difficulties of our way? Let us 
encourage ourselves, my dear friend, let us encourage 
ourselves with those mighty aids we are to expect in 
this spiritual warfare ; for greater is he that is for us, than 
all ttiat can rise up against us: The eternal God is our 
refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. 
Let us be strong in the Lord, and in thepowtr of his 
might; for he it is that shall tread down our ene- 
mies. God hath a tender regard unto the souls of men, 
and is infinitely willing to promote their welfare. He 
hath condescended to oar weakness, and declared with 
an oath, that he hath no pleasure, in our destruction. 
There is no such thing as despite or enVy lodged in the 
bosom of that ever blessed being, whose name and na-^ 
ture is love. He created us at first in a happy condi- 
tion; and now, when we are fallen from it, he hath 
laid help upon one ihat is mighty to save, hath com- 
mitted the care of our souls to no meaner' person than 
the eternal Son of his love. It is he that is the Captain 
of our salvation; and what enemies can be too strong 
for us, when we are fighting under his banner? Did not 
the Son of God come down from the bosom of Ms Fa- 
ther, ajid pitch his tabernacle amongstthe sons of men, 
that he might recover and propagate the divine life, and 
restore the image of God in their souls? All the mighty 
works which he performed; all the sad aiBictions which 
he sustained, liad this fur their scope and design; for thi& 



IN THE aOUI* OF MAK. 47 

did he labour and toil; for this did he bleed and die: 
Hath he wrought no deliverance in the earth? 
Shall he not see the'travail of his soul? Certainly it 
is impossible that this great contrivance of heaven should 
prove abortive, that ^ch a mighty undertaking should 
fail and miscarry. It hath already been effectual for the 
salvation of many thousands, who were once as far from 
the kingdom of heaven as we can suppose ourselves to 
be^.and our High Priest continueth for ever, and is 
able to suve them to the uttermost that come unto 
God h}f him. He is tender and compassionate; he 
knoweth our infirmities, and had experience ofour temp* 
tations: JL bruised reed will he not break, and smok' 
ing flax will he not quench, till he send forth jude-' 
ment unto victory. He hath sent out his Holy opint, 
virhose sweet, but powerful breathiogs are still moving 
up and down in the world, to quicken and revive the 
souls t>f men, and awaken them unto the sense and feel- 
ing of those divine things for which they were made; 
and is ready to assist such weak and lan^ishing crea- 
tures as we are, in our essays towards holiness and felic- 
ity; and when once it hath taken hold of a soul, and 
kindled in it the smallest spark of divine love, it will be 
sure to preserve and cherish, and bring it forth into a 
flame, which many waters shall not quench, neither 
shall the floods be able to drown it. Whenever this 
day begins to dawn, and the day-star to arise in the 
heart, it will e^ily dispel the powers of darkness, and 
make ignorance and folly, and all the corrupt and sel- 
fish affoctioBs of men, flee away as fast before it as the 
shades of night when the sun cometh out of his cham- 
bers: for the path of the just is as the shining light f 
which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 
They shall go on from strength to strength, tUl - 
every one of them appear before Ood in Zion. 

Why should we think it impossible, that trae good- 
ness and universal love should ever come tQ sway and 
prevail in our souls? Is not this their primitive state and 
condition; their native and genuine constitution as they 
came first from, the hands of their ma]-* r? Sin andVor- 



48 THB I.IFE or OOD 

rapcioa are but nswpen; and iho^gh they hare long 
kqpc the p oe BcaMo n, jeifrom the beginning ii was 
fMf to. That inordinate aelf-leve wluch one wonld think 
were rooted in our veiy being, and intennroyen with the 
oooatitation of oar nature, is nererthelesB of foreign ex- 
traction, and had no place at all in the state of integrity. 
We hare still so nmch reason left as to condemn it. 
Oar anderetandings ase easily convinced, that we ought 
«to be wholly devoted to him from whom we have oar 
being, and to love him infinitely more than ourselves, 
who is infinitely better than we; and oar wills would 
readily comply with this, if thejr were not disordered . 
•and pat oat of tone. And is not he who made oar seals, 
Able to rectify and mend them acain? Shall we not be 
Able, by his assistance, to vanqaim and expel those vio- 
Jent introdera, (tnd turn to flight the armies of the 
aliens 7 

No sooner shall we take «|> arms in this holy war, 
6ot we shall have all the saints on earth, and all the an- 
gels in heaven engaged on oar party. The holy chorch 
throoghout the world is ibiily mlerceding vnth God for 
the success of all such endeavours. And doubtless those 
Jieavenly hosts above iire nearly concerned in the inter- 
ests >Qf Eeiigion, and infinitely desirous to see the divine 
life thriving and pnevailing in this inferior world; and 
that the will of God may be done by us on eaith, as it 
is done by thetnselves in heaven. And may we not then 
encourage oniselves, as the prophet did his servant, when / 
he showed him the horses and chariots of fire. Fear 
not, for they that be with us, are more than they 
that be against us. 

We must do what we oon, and depend &m the 
divine assistance. 

Away then with all perplexing fears and despending 
thoughts. To undertake vi|prously, and rely confident- 
ly on the divine assistance, is nwre than half the oon- 
quest. Let us arise, and be doing, and the Lord 
will be with us. It is true, religkm in the souls of 
men is the immediate work of God; and all our natmal 



■n^ 



IN THE SOUL OF MAN. 49 

eAddavontiB can neither produce it alone, nor merit those 
sapematnial aids by which it must be wrought: the Ho- 
ly Ghost must come upon us, and the power of the 
Highest must overshadow us, before that holy thing can 
be ^.ji^otten, and Christ be formed in us. But yet wo 
mnet not expect that this whole work should be done 
without any concurring endeavours of our own: we must 
not lie loitering in the ditch, and wait till Omnipotence 
pull us from thence. No, no: we must bestir ourselves, 
and actuate those powers which we have already re- 
ceived: we must put forth ourselves to our utmost ca- 
pacities, and then we may hope that our labour shall 
not be in vain in the Lord, All the art and industry 
of man cannot form the smallest herb^ or make a stalk 
of com to grow in the field: it is the enei^y of nature, 
and the induences of heaven, which produce this efiect; 
it is God who causes the grass to groWy and herb 
for the.serviee of man: and y«t nol^y will say, that 
the labouis of the husbandman are useless or unneces- 
sary. So likewise the human soul is immediately cre- 
ated by God; it is he who both formeth and enliveneth the 
child: and yet he hath appointed the marriage-bed aa 
the ordinary means for the propagation of mankind. 
Though there must intervene a stroke of omnipotence 
to effect this mighty change in our souls, yet ought we 
to do what we can to fit and prepare ourselves. For 
we must break up our fallow ground, and root out the 
Weeds, and pull up the thorns, that so we may be more 
ready to receive the seeds of grace, and the dew of 
heaven. It is true, God hath been found of some who 
sought him not; be hath cast himself in their way, who 
were quite out of his; he 'hath laid hold upon them, 
and stopped their course of a sudden: for so was St. Paul 
converted in his journey to Damascus. But certainly 
this is not God's ordinary method of dealing with men: 
Thou^ he hath not tied himself to means, yet he hath 
tied us to the use of them; and we have never more rea- 
, son to expect the divine aasisttmce, than when we are 
di9iDg.our utmost endeavoura. It shall therefore be my 
next work, to show what course we ought to take for 
5 



•0 THE LIFJE or GOO 

attaining that bleiised temper I have hitherto described. 
Bat here, if, in delivering my own thoughts, I shall 
chance to differ from what is or may be said by others 
in this matter, I wouJd not be thought to contradict and 
oppose them, more than physicians do, when thny 
prescribe several remedies for the same disease, whicn 
perhaps are all useful and good. Every one may pro- 
pose the method he judges most proper and convenient; 
but he doth not thereby pretend that the cure can nev- 
er be effected, unless that be exactly observed. I doubt 
it hath occasioned much unnecessary disquietude to 
{ ome holy persons, that they have not found such a reg- 
ular and oitlerly transaction in their souls, as they have 
seen described in books: that they have not passed 
through all those steps and stages of conversion, which 
some (who perhaps have felt them in themselves) have 
too peremptorily prescribed unto others. God hath sev- 
eral ways of dealing with the souls of men; and it suffi- 
ceth if the work be accomplished, whatever the meth- 
ods have been. 

Again, though, in proposing directions, I must follow 
that order which the nature of things shall lead to; yet 
I do not mean that the same method should be so punc- 
tually observed in the practice, as if the latter rules were 
never to be heeded, till some considerable time have^ 
been spent in practising the former. The directions I 
intend are mutually conducive one to another; and are 
all to be performed as occasion shall serve, and we find 
ourselves enabled to perform them. 

We must shun all manner of sin. 
But now, that I may detain you no longer, if we desire 
to have our souls moulded to this holy frame, to become 
partakers of the divine nature, and have Christ formed 
m our hearts, we must seriously- resolve, and carefully 
endeavour to avoid and abandon all vicious and sinful 
practices. There can be no treaty of peace, till once 
we lay down these weapons of rebellion wherewith we 
light against heaven: nor can we expect to have our dia^ 
tempoFB cured, if we bo daily feeding on poison. Every 



IK THE §OUX. or MA2C. .61 

wilful sin gives a mortal wound to the soal, and puts it 
at a greater distance from God and goodness: and we 
can never hope to have oar hearts porified from corrapt 
ailections, unless we cleanse our hands from vicious ac- 
tions. Now, in this case, we cannot excuse ourselves by 
-the pretence of impossibility; for sore our outward man 
is some way in our power; we have some command of 
our feet, and hands, and tongue, nay, and of our thoughts 
and fancies too;- at least so far as to divert them from 
ioapure and sinful objects, and to turn our mind another 
-way: and we should find this power and authority much 
strengthened and advanced, if we were careful to man- 
age and exercise it. In the mean while, I acknowledge 
our corruptions are so strong, and our temptations so 
many, that it will require a great deal of stedfistness and 
resolution, of watchfuiness and care, to preserve our- 
selves, even in this degree of innocence and purity. 

We must know what things are sinful. 
And, first, let as inform ourselves well, what those 
sins are from which we ought to abstain. And here we 
must not take our measures from the maxims of the 
world, or the practices of those whom in charity we ac- 
count good men. Most people have very light appre- 
hensions of these things, and are not sensibly of any 
fault, unless it be gross and flagitioas; and scarce reckon 
any so great as that which they call preciseness: and 
diose who are more serious, do many times allow them- 
selves too great latitude and freedom. Alas! how much 
pride and vanity, and passion and humour; how mach 
weakness', folly, and- sin, doth every day show itself in 
their converse and behaviour. It may be they are hum- 
bled forit, and striving agamst it, and are daily gaining 
some ground; but then the progress is so small, and their 
failings so many, that we have need to choose an exacter 
patteru. Every one of us mast answer for himself^ and 
the practices of otbera will never warrant and secure us. 
It is the highest folly to regulate our actions by any 
other standud than that by which they must be judged. 



62 THE LIFE OF GOD 

If ever wa would cleanse our toay, it must be 6y tak» 
ing heed thereunto according to the word of God. 
And that word which is quick and powerful, and 
f harper than any two-edged sword, piercing even 
to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of 
the joints and marrow, and is a discemer of the 
thoughts and intents of the heart, will certaiDly dia- 
cover many things to be sinful and heinons, which pass 
for very innocent in the eyes of the world: let us there* 
fore imitate the Psalmist, who saith. Concerning tlie 
works of men, hy the words of thy lips, I have kept 
fnyself from the paths of the destroyer. Let us 
acquaint ourselves with the strict and holy laws of 
our religion; let us consider the discourses of our blessed 
Saviour, (especially that divine sermon on the mount,) 
and the writings of his holy apostles, where an ingenious 
and unbiassed mind may clearly discem those limits and 
bounds by which our actions ought to be confined. And 
then let us never look upon any sin as light' and incon- 
siderable; bat be fully persuaded that the smallest is in- 
finitely heinous in the sight of God, and prejudicial to 
the souls of men; and Siai, if we had a right sense of 
things, we should be as deeply affected with the least 
irregularities, as now we are with the highest crimes. 

"H^e must resist the temptations of sin, by consider* 
ing the evils they will draw on us. 
But now, amongst those things which we discover to 
be sinful, there will be some, mito which, through the 
disposition of our nature, or long custom, or the endear- 
ments of pleasure, we are so much wedded, that it will 
be like cutting off the right hand, or pulling out the right 
eye, to abandon them. But must we therefore sit down 
and wait till all difficulties are over, and every tempta- 
tion be gone? This were to imitate the fool in the poet, 
who stood the whole day at the river side, till all the wa- 
ters should run by. We must not indulge our inclina- 
tions, as we do little children, till they grow weary of the 
thing they are unwilling to let go; we must not contiuae 



-^ty- 



Ijr THE SOUL OF MAN. (3 

«ttr nnfui practices, \ii hopes that the divioe grace will 
one day overpower oar spirits, and make us hate them 
• for their own deformity. 

Let OS suppose the worst, that we are utterly destitute 
of any supernatural principle, and want that taste by 
which we should discern and abhor perverse thincs: yet 
sure we are capable of some considerations which may 
be of force to persuade us to this reformation of our lives. 
If the inward deformity and heinous nature of sin can- 
not affect us, at least we may be frighted by those dread- 
ful consequences that attend it: that same selfish princi- 
ple which pusheth us forward unto the pursuit of sinful 
pleasures, will make us loth to buy them at the rate of 
everlasting misery. Thus we may encounter self-love 
with its own weapons, and employ one natural inclina- 
tion for repressing the exorbitances of another. Let us 
therefore accustom ourselves to consider seriously, what 
a fearful thing it must needs beto irritate and offend that 
infinite Being, on whom we hang and depend every mo- 
ment; who needs but to withdraw his mercies to make 
ns miserable, or his assistance to make us nothing. Let 
us frequently remember the shortness and uncertainty of 
onr lives, and how that, after we have taken a few turns 
more in the world, and conversed a little longer amongst 
men, we must all go down into the dark and silent grave, 
and carry nothing along with us but anguidi and n^gret 
for all our sinful enjoyments; and then think what hor- 
ror must needs seize the guilty soul, to find itself naked 
and all alone before the severe and impartial judge of 
the* world, to render an exact account, not only of its 
more- important and considerable transactions, but of 
every word that the tongue hath uttered, and the swifl- 
est and most secret thought that ever passed through 
the mind. Let us sometimes represent unto ourselves 
the terrors of that dreadful day, when the foundations 
of the earth shall be shaken, and the heavens shall pass 
away with a great nobe, and the elements shall melt 
with fervent heat, and the present frame of nature be 
dissolved, and our eyes shall see the blesse^ Jesus 
(who came once into the world in jail humility to 
5* 



54 THE LIFE OF GOD 

Tisit VB, to purchase pardon for A, and beseech as to 
accept of it) now appearing in the majesty of his glory, 
and descencUng from heaven in flaming fire, to take ven- 
geance on those that have despised his mercy, and per- 
sisted in rebellion against him: when all the hidden 
things of darkness shdl be brought to light, and the 
counsels of the heart shall be made manifest: when 
those secret impurities and subtle frauds whereof the 
world did never suspect us, shall be exposed and laid 
open to public view, and many thousand actions which 
we never dreamed to be sinful, or else had altogether for- 
gotten, shall be charged home to our consciences, with 
such evid^t convictions of guilt, that we shall neither be 
able to deny nor excuse them. Then shall the angels in 
heaven, and all the saints that ever lived on the earth, 
approve that dreadful sentence which shall be passed 
on wicked men; and those who perhaps did love and 
esteem them when they Jived in the world, shall look 
upon them with indignation and abhorrence, and never 
make one request for their deliverance. Let us consid- 
er the eternal punishment of damned souls, which are 
shadowed forth in scripture by metaphors taken from 
those things that are most terrible and grievous in the 
world, and yet all do not sufiice to convey unto our 
minds any ftill apprehensions of them. When we have 
joined together the importance of aU these expressions^ 
and a Jd^ unto them wiiatevier our fancy can conceive 
of misery and torment, we must still remember, that all 
this comes infinitely short of the truth and reality of the 
thing. 

It is true, this is a sad and melancholy subject; there 
is anguish and horror in the consideration of it; but sure 
it must be infinitely more dreadful to endure it: and such 
thoughts as these may be very useful to fright us fit>m 
the courses that would lead us thither; how fond soever 
we may be of sinful pleasures, the fear of hell would 
make us abstain: our most forward inclinations willstar-r 
tie and give back, when pressed with that question in 
the prophet, J^nio among us can dwell with ever- 
lasting burnings? 



IN TH£ SOUL OF MAN. 56 

To this very purpose it is, that the terrors of another 
world are so* ireqnentlj represented in holy writ, and 
that in such terms as are most proper to afifect and in- 
fluence a carnal mind: these fears can never suffice to 
make any person truly good, but certainly they may 
restrain us from much evil, and have, often made way 
for more ingenuous and kindly impressions. 

We mtist keep a constant watch over ourselves. 
But it will not suffice to consider these thuigs once and 
again, nor to form some resolutions of abandoning our 
sins, unless we maintain a constant guard, and be continu- 
ally watching against them. Sometimes the mind is 
awakened to see the dismal consequences of a vicious 
life, ahd straight we are resolved to tefbrm: but, alas! it 
presently falleth asleep, and we lose that prospect which 
we had of things, and then temptations take the advan- 
tage; they solicit and importune us continually, and so 
do frequently engage our consent before we are aware. 
It is the folly, and ruin of most people to live at adven- 
ture, and take part in every thing that comes in their 
way, seldom considering what they are about to say or 
do. If we would have our resolutions take e^ct, we 
must take heed unto our ways, and set a watch before 
the door of our lips, and examine the motions that arise 
in our hearts, and cause them to tell us whence they 
come, and whither they go; whether it*be pride or pas- 
sion, or any corrupt and vicious humour, that promptetb 
us to any design; and whether God will be o^nded, or 
any body harmed by it. And if we have no time for 
long reasonings, let us at least turn our eyes toward 
God, and place ourselves in his presence, to ask his 
leave' and approbi^tion for what we do: let us consider 
ourselves under the all-seeing eye of that divine Ma- 
jesty, as in the midst of an infinite globe of light, which 
compasseth us about both behind and before, and pier- 
c^h to the innermost comers of our soul. The sense 
and remembrance of the divine presence is the most 
ready and effectual means, both to discover what is un- 



ady a 
wfyl, 



lawful, and to restrain us from it. There are somo 



M THE iiirx or goo 

things a person conld make shift to palliate' or defend* 
and yet he dares not look almighty God in the face» 
and adrentare upon them. If we look unto him, we 
shall he lightened; if we set him always before u«, 
he will guide us by his eye, and instruct us in the 
way wherein we ought to walk. 

We must often examine our actions. 
This care and watchfulness over our actions, most be 
seconded by frequent and serioos reflections upon them, 
not only that we may obtain the divine mercy and par* 
don for onr sins, by an humble and sorrowful acknow* 
ledgement of them ; but also that we may re-enforce and 
strengthen our resolutions, and learn to decline or resis^ 
the temptations by which we have been formerly foiled* 
It is an advice worthy of a Christian, though it did first 
drop from a heathen pen, ** That before we betake 
ourselves to rest, we renew and examine all the passa- 
ges of the day, that we may have the comfort of what 
we have done aright, and may redress what we find ta 
have been amiss, and make the shipwrecks of one day 
be as marks to direct our course in another." This Anay 
be called the very art of virtuous living, and would con- 
tribute wonderfully to advance our reformation, and 
preserve our innocency. But, withal, we must not fbr- 

Sit to implore the divine assistance, especially against 
ose sins that do most easily beset us: and though it be 
supposed that our hearts are not yet moulded into that 
spiritual irame which should render our devotions ac- 
ceptable, yet, methinks, such considerations as have been 
proposed to deter us from sin, may also stir us up to 
some natural seriousness, and make our prayers against 
it OS earnest, at least, as they are wont to be agamst 
other calamities: and I doubt not but God, who heareth 
the cry of the ravens, will have some regard even to 
such petitions as proceed from those, natural passions 
which himself hath implanted in us. Besides, that those 
prayers against sin, will be powerful engagements on 
ourselves to excite us to watchfulness and care; and 
common ingenuity will make us ashamed to relapse into 



IN THE SOUL OF MAN. 57 

- those faults, whicbwe have latelj bewailed before God, 
and againiSt which we have begged his assistance. 

It is fit to restrain ourselves in many lawful things. 
Thus are we to make the first essay for recovering 
the divine life, by restraining the natural inclinations, 
that they break not out into sinful practices: but now I 
must add, that Christian prudence will teach us to ab- 
stain from gratifications that are not simply unlawful, 
and that not only that we may secure our innocence, 
which would be in continual hazard if we should strain 
our liberty to the utmost point; but also, that hereby we 
may weaken the forces of nature, and teach our appe^ 
tites to obey. We must dp with ourselves as prudent 
parents with their children, who cross their wills in 
many little indifferent things, to make them manageable 
and submissive in more considerable instances. He who 
would mortify the pride and vanity of his spirit, should 
stop his ears to the most deserved praises; and sometimes 
forbear his just vindication from the censures and asper- 
sions of others, especially if they reflect only upon his 
prudence and conduct, and not on his virtue and inno- 
cence. He who would check a revengeful humour, 
would do well to deny himself the satisfaction of repre- 
. senting unto others the injuries which he hath sustained; 
and if we would so take heed to our ways, that we sin 
not with our tongue, we must accustom ourselves much 
ta solitude and silence, and sometimes, with the Psalm- 
ist, Hold our peace even from good, till once we have 
gotten some command over that unruly member. Thus, 
I say, we may bind up our natural inclinations, and 
make our appetites more moderate in their cravings, by 
accustoming them to frequent refusals: but it is not 
enough to have them under violence and restraint. 

We must strive to put ourselves out of love with the 

world. 

Our next essay must be to wean our affections from ' 

« created things, and all the delights and entertainments 

of the lower life, which sink and depress the souls 



&S THE LZrE OF OOD 

cf m«ii, imd retard their motions towards God and 
heaven^ and this we must do by possession our minds 
%vith a deep persuasion of the vanity and emptiness of 
worldly enjoyments. This is an ordinary theme, and 
ev«ry body can make declamations upon it; hot alas! 
how few understand and believe what they say! Theso 
notions float in our brains, and come sliding off our 
tongues, but we have no deep impression of them on 
our spirits, we feel not the truth which we pretend to 
believe. We can tell that all the glory and splendour, 
all the pleasures and enjoyments of the world, are van- 
ity and nothing; and yet these nothings take up all our 
thoughts, and engroas all our affections; they stifle tho 
better inclinations of our soul, and inveigle us into 
many a sin. It may be, in a sober mood, we give them 
the slight, and resolve to be no longer deluded with 
them ; but these thoughts seldom outlive the next temp- 
tation; the vanities which we, have shut out at the door 
get in at a postern: there are still some pretensions, 
some hopes that flatter us; and afler we have been 
frustrated a thousand times, we must be continually 
repeating the experiment: the least difference of cir- 
cumstances is enough to delude us, and make us ex- 
pect that satisfaction in one thing which we have 
missed in another: but could we once get clearly off, 
and come to a real and serious contempt of worldly 
things, this were a very considerable advancement in 
oar way. The soul of man is of a vigorous and active 
nature, and hath in it a raging and inextinguishable 
thirst, an immaterial kind oi fire, always catching at 
some object or other, in conjunction wherewith it 
thinks to be happy; and were it once rent from the 
world, and all the bewitching enjoyments under the 
sun, it would quickly se^irch after some higher and 
more excellent object, to satisfy its ardent and importu- 
nate cravings; and being no longer dazzled with glitter- 
ing vanities, would fix on that supreme lind all-suffi- 
cient Good, where it would discover such beauty and 
sweetness, as would charm and overpower all its 
affections. The love of the world, and the love of 



IN THE ffOUI. GF MAN. 6t 

God, are like the scales of a balance; as the one fklleth, 
the other doth rise: when our natural inclinations pros- 
per, and the creature is exalted in our soul, religion is 
runt, and doth languish; but when earthly objects 
wither away and lose their beauty, and the soul begins 
to cool and flag in its prosecution of them, then the 
seeds of grace take root, and the divine life begins to 
flourish and prevail. It doth, therefore, nearly con- 
cern us, to convince ourselves of the emptiness and van- 
ity of creature-enjoyments, and reason our hearts out 
-of love with them: let us seriously conender all that our 
reason, or our faith, our own experience, or the ob- 
servation of others, can suggest to this effect; let us pon- 
der the matter over and over, and fix our thoughts on this 
truths till we become really persuaded of it. Amtdst 
all our pursuits and designs, let us stop and ask ourselves. 
For what end is all this? at what do I aim? can the gross 
and muddy pleasures of sense, or a heap of white and 
yellow earth, or th^ esteem and affection of silly creatures 
like myself, satisfy a rational and immortal soul? Have 
I not tried these things already? will they have a higher 
relish, and yield me more contentment tomorrow than 
yesterday, or the next year than they did the last? There 
may be some little diflerence between that which I am 
now pursuing, and that which I enjoyed before; bnt sure 
uly former enjoyments did shew as pleasant, and promis- 
«d as>fair, before I attained them: like the rainbow, they 
looked Tery glorious at a distance, but when I approaclw 
ed I found nothing but emptiness and vapour. O what 
a poor thing would the lile of man be, if it were ca- 
pable of no higher enjoyments! 

I cannot insist on this subject: and there is the less 
need, when I remember to whom 1 am writing. Yes, 
my dear friend, you have had as great experience of 
the emptiness and vanity of human things, and have at 
present as few woridly engagements as any that I 
know. J have sometimes reflected on those passages 
of your life wherewith yon have been pleased to ao- 
qnaint me; and methinks, through all, I can discern a 
design ot the divine Providence to wean yonr affections 



60 THE LIFE OF COO 

from every thing here below. The trials yon have 
had of those things which the world doats upon, have 
taught you to despise them ; and you have found by 
experience, that neither the endowments of nature, nor 
the advantages of fortune, are sufficient for happiness; 
that every rose hath its thorn, and there may be a 
worm at the root of the fairest gourd; some secret and 
undiscemed grief, which may make a person deserve 
the pity of those who perhaps do admire or envy their 
supposed felicity. If any earthly comforts have got 
too much of your heart, I think they have been your 
relations and friends; and the dearest of these are re- 
moved out of the world, so that you must raise your 
mind towards heaven, when you would think upon 
them. Thus God hath provided that your heart may 
be loosed from the world, and that he may not have 
any rival in ypur afiection, which I have always ob« 
served to be so large and ulibounded, so noble and dis- 
interested, that no inferior object can answer or de- 
serve it. 

We mtist do those outward actions that are 
commanded. 

When we have got pur corruptions restrained, ancT 
our natural appetites and inclinations towards worldly 
things in some measure subdued, we must proceed to 
such exercises as have a more immediate tendency to 
excite and awaken the divine life: and, first, let us en- 
deavour conscientiously to perform those duties which 
religion doth require, and whefeunto it would incline 
OS, if it did prevail in our souls. If we cannot get 
our inward disposition presently changed, let us study 
at least to regulate our outward deportment: if our 
hearts be not y^t inflamed with divine love, let us, how- 
ever, own our allegiance to that infinite Majesty, by at- 
tending his service, and listening to his word, by speak- 
ing reverently of his name, and praising his goodness, 
and exhorting others to serve and obey him. If we 
want that charity, and those bowels of compassion 
which we ought to have towards our neighbours^ yet . 



ITT THE SOUL OF MAW 61 

must we not omit any occasion of doing them good: if 
our hearts be haughty and proud, we must neyeitheless 
study a modest and humble deportment. These exter- 
nal performances are of little value in themselves, yet 
they may help us forward to better things. The apo^e 
indeed tells us, that bodily exercise profiteth little; 
but he seems not to affirm that it is altogether useless: 
it is. always good to be doing what we can, for then 
God is wont to pity our wealmess, and assist our feeble 
endeavours; and when true charity and humility, and 
other graces of the divine Spirit, come to take root in 
our souls, they will exert themselves more freely, and 
with less difficulty, if we have before been accustomed 
to express them in our outward conversations. Nor 
need we fear the imputation of hypocrisy, though our 
actions do thus somewhat outran our affections, seeing 
they do still proceed from a sense of our duty; and our 
design is not to appear better than we are, but that wa 
may really become so. 

We must endeavour to form 'internal acts of 
devotion, charity-, fyc 

But as inward acts have a more immediate influence 
on the soul, to mould it to a right temper and frame, so 
ought we to be most frequent and sedulous in the exer- 
cise of them. Let us be often lifting up our hearts to- 
ward God; and if we do not say that we love him above 
all thmgs, let us at least acknowledge that it is our duty, 
and would be our happiness so to do; let us lament the 
dishonour done unto him by foolish and sinful men, and 
applaud the praises and adorations that are given him 
by that blessed and glorious company above; let us re- 
sign and yield ourselves up unto him a thousand times, 
to be governed bv his laws, and disposed of at his plea- 
sure. And though our stubborn hearts should start back 
andreftise;yet letustell him we are convinced that 
his will is always just and good; and therefore desire 
him to do with us whatsoever he pleaseth, whether we 
will or not. And so, for begetting in us an universal 
charity towards men, we must be frequently putting up 



6S TXIZ LXrz OF GOD 

wishes for their happiness, and blessing every persoxs 
that we see ; and when we have done any thii^ for the 
relief of the miserable, we may second it with earnest 
desires that God would take care of them, and deliver 
them out of all their distresses. 

Thus should we exercise ourselves unto godliness. 
And when we are employing the powers that we have, 
the Spirit of God is wont to strike in, and elevate these 
acts of our soul beyond the pitch of nature, and give 
them a divine impression: and, after the frequent reit* 
eration of these,^we shall find ourselves' more inclined 
unto them, they flowing with greater freedom and 



Consideraiion a great instrument of religion, 
I shall mention but two other means for begetting that 
holy and divine temper of spirit which is the subject of 
the present dvicourse. And the first is, a deep and se- 
rious consideration of the truths of our religion, and that 
both as to the certainty and importance of them. The 
assent which is ordinarHy given to divine truths, is very 
fault and languid; very weak and ineffectual; flowing 
only fVom a blind inclination to follow that religion 
which is m fashion, or a lazy indifference and uncon- 
cemednoss whether things be so or not Men are un? 
willing to quarrel with the religion of their country^ and 
^nee all their neighbours are christians, they are content 
to be so too ; but they are seldom at the pains to consid- 
er the evidences of those truths, or to ponder the impor- 
tance and tendency of them ; and thence it is that they 
have so little influence on their affections and practice. 
'Phose spiritless and paralytic thoughts (as one doth 
rightly term them) are not able to move the will and di- 
rect the hand: we must therefore endeavour to work 
up our \ninds to a serious belief and full persuasion of 
divine truths, unto a sense and feeling of spiritual things. 
Our thoughts must dwell upon them, till we are both 
convinced of them, and deeply affected with then). Let 
US urge forward our spirits, and make them approach 
the invisible world; and fix onr minds upon immntcriat 



xir tHS 80UX. or maxt. 6t 

things* till .we clearly perceive that these are no ch-eams; 
nay, that all things are dreams and shadows besides 
then). When we look aboat ns and behold the beanty 
and magnificence of this goodly frame, the order and 
harmony of the whole creation, let oar thoughts from 
thence take th^ir flight towards that omnipotent wisdom 
and goodness which did at first produce, and doth still 
establish and uphold the same. When we reflect upon 
onrselves, let as consider that we are net a mere piece 
of organized matter; a curious and well contrived engine; 
that there is more in us than fleshy and blood, and bones; 
even a divine spark, capable to know, and love, and 
eujoy onr Maker; and though it be now exceedingly clog* 
ged with its doll and lumpish companion, yet ere long 
it shall be delivered, andoan subsist without the body, 
as wen as that can do without the clothes which we 
throw off at our pleasure. Let us oflen withdraw our 
thoughts from this earth, this scene of misery, folly, and 
sin, and raise them towards that more vast and glorious 
world, whose innocent and blessed inhabitants solace 
themselves eternally in the divine presence, and know 
no other passion but an unmixed joy, and an unbounded 
tove: and then consider how the blessed Son of God 
came down to this lower world to live among us, and 
die for us, that h^ might bring us to a portion of the same 
felicity; and think how, he luith overcome the sharpness 
of death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all be* 
Uevers, and is now set down on the right hand of the 
Majesty on high; and yet is not the less mindful of us, 
but receiveth our prayers, and presenteth them unto his 
Father; and Is daily visiting bis church with the influen* 
ces of his Spirit, as the sun reacheth us with his beams. 

To beget divine love^ toe must consider the excel- 
lency pf the divine nature. 
The serious and frequent consideration of these, and 
floch other divine truths, is the most proper method to 
b<^et that lively faith which is the foundation of religion, 
the spring and root of the divine life. Let me further 
suggest some particular subjects of meditation for pro- 



64 THE LIFE OF GOD 

dacing the several branches of it. And, first, to inflame 
our souls with the love of God, let U3 consider the ex- 
cellency of his natare, and his love and kindness towards 
us. It is little we know of the divine perfection, and yet 
that little may suffice to fill our souls with admh*ation 
and love; to ravish our affections as well as to raise our 
wonder: for we are not merely creatures of sense, that 
we should be incapable of any other aSection but that 
which entereth by the eyes. The character of any ex- 
cellent person whom we have never seen, will many 
times engage our hearts, and make us hugely concerned . 
in all his interests. And what is it, I pray you, that en- 
gages us so much to those with whom w'e converse? I 
cannot think that it is merely the colour of their face, 
or their comely proportions; for then we should fall in 
love with statues, and pictures, and flowers. These 
outward accomplishments may a little delight the eye, 
but would never be able to prevail so much on the heart, 
if they did not represent some vital perfection. We 
either see or apprehend some greatness of mind, or vig- 
our of spirit, or sweetness of dii^ositioH;somespright- 
liness, or wisdom, or goodness, which charm our spirit, 
and command our love. Now these perfections are not 
obvious to the sight, the eyes can only discern the signs 
and eflTects of them; and if it be the understanding that 
directs the aflectioa, and vital perfections prevail with it, 
certainly the excellencies of the divine nature (the tra- 
ces whereof we cannot but discover in every thing we 
behold) would not fail to engage our hearts, if we did 
seriously view and regard them. Shall we not be infi- 
nitely more transporteid with that almighty wisdom and 
goodness which fills the universe, and displays itself in 
all the parts of creation, which establisheth the frame of 
, nature, and tumeth the mighty wheels of providence, 
and keepeth the world from disorder and ruin, than with 
the faint rays of the same perfections which we meet 
with in our fellow-creatures? Shall we doat on the sc'at^ 
tered pieces of a rude and imperfect picture, and never 
be aflTected with the original beauty? This were an un-^ 
accountable stupidity and blindness. Whatever we find 



IW TftJE SOVL or MAN. 85 

lovely ia a.fridncL or m a saint, ought not to engross, bat 
to 'elevate our affection. We should conclude with our- 
selves^ that if there be so much sweetness in a dropi 
there must be infinitely more in the fountain; if there b« 
80 much splendour in a ray, what must the sun be in its 
glory? 

Nor can we pretend the remoteness of the object, tm 
if God were at too great a distance for our converse or 
our love: He is not far from every one of us; for in 
him toe Uvea ond move^ and have our being. We 
cannot open oar eyes, but we must behold some foot* 
steps of his glory; and we cannot turn them toward him, 
but we shall be sure to find his intent upon us; waiting 
as it were to catch a look, ready to entertain the most 
intimate fellowship and comnjunion with us. Let us 
therefore endeavour to raise our minds to the clearest 
conceptions of the clivine nature. Let us consider all 
that his works do declare, or his word doth discover of 
him unto us; and let us especially contemplate that visi- 
ble representation of him which was made in our own 
nature by his Son, who was the brightness of his glo^ 
ri/y and the express image of his person; and who 
appeared in the world to discover at once what God is, 
uid what we ought to be. Let us represent him unto 
bur minds as we find him described in the gospel; and 
there we shall behold the perfections of the divine na- 
ture, though covered with the veil of human infirmities; 
and When we have framed unto ourselves the clearest 
notion that we can of a Being, infinite in power, in 
wisdom, and goodness; the author and fountain of all 
perfections, let us fix the eyes of our soul upon it, that 
our eyes may affect our heart, ^d while we are mus- 
ing the fire will bum. 

JVe should meditate on God's goodness and jjwe. 
Especially, if hereunto we add the consideration of 
God's favour and good-will towards us; nothing is more 
powerful to engage our affection, than to find that we 
&re4>eloved. Expressions of kindness are always pleas- 
inffrand acceptable unto us, though thej[>er8on should be 
6* 



66 THE I.IFE 6F GOD 

Otherwise mean and contemptible: but to have the love 
of one who is altogether lovely, to know that the glori- 
ous Majesty of heaven hath any regard unto va, how 
must it astonish and delight us! how must it overcome 
oar spirits, and melt oar hearts, and put oar whole soul 
into a flame! Now as the word of God is full of the 
expressions of his love towards man, so all his works do 
loudly proclaim it; he gave us Our being, and by pre- 
serving OS in it, doth renew the donation every moment. 
He hath placed us in a rich and well furnislusd world, 
and liberally provided for all our necessities; he raineth 
down blessings from heaven upon us, and causeth the 
earth to bring forth our provision ; he giveth us our food 
and raiment, and while we are spending the productions 
of one year, he is preparing for us against another. He 
sweeteneth our lives with innumerable comforts, and 
cratifieth every faculty with suitable objects; the eye of 
nis providence is always upon us, and he watcheth for 
our safety when we are fast asleep, neither minding him 
nor ourselves. But lest we should think these testimo-. 
nies of his kindness less considerable, because they are 
the easy issues of his omnipotent power, and do not put 
him to any trouble or pain, he hath taken a more won- ^ 
derful method to endear himself to us; he hath testified 
his affection to us, by suffering as well as by doing; and 
because he could not suffer in his own nature he assjsmed 
ours. The eternal Son of God did clothe himself with 
the infirmities of our flesh, and left the company of 
those innocent and blessed spirits, who knew well how 
to love and adore him, that he m^ht dwell among 
men, and wrestle with the obstinacy of that rebellious 
race, to reduce them to their allegiance and fidelity, and 
then to offer himself up as a sacrifice and propitiation 
for them. I remember one of the poets hath an ingeni- 
ous«^ncyto express the passion wherewith he found 
himself overcome after a long resistance: " That the 
god of love had shot all his golden arrows at him, but 
could never pierce his heart, till at length he put himself 
into the bow, and darted himself straight into his breast.'* 
Methinks this doth some way adumbrate God*8 method 



IN THE 80UI< OF MAN. 97 

of dealing with men: he had long contended with a itub- 
bom world, and thrown down many a blefeiog upon 
them ; and when all his other gifls could not prevail, he at 
last made a gill of himself, to testify his affection and 
engage theirs. The account which we hare of our Sa* 
Tiour's life in the gospel, doth all along present us with 
the story of his love; all the pains that he took, and the 
troubles that he endured, were the wonderful effects, 
and uncontrollable evidences of it. But O that last, that 
dismal scene! Is it possible to remember it, and ques- 
tion his kindness,, or deny him ours? Here, here it is, 
my dear friend, that we should fix our most serious and 
solemn thoughts, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by 
faith: that we being rooted and grounded in love,' may be 
able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, 
and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love 
of Christ, which passeth. knowledge, that we may be 
filled with all the fulness of God. 

We ought also frequently to reflect on those particu- 
lar tokens of favour and love, which God hath bestowed 
on ourselves; how long he hath borne with our follies and 
* sins, and waited to be gracious unto us; wrestling, as it 
were, with the stubbornness of our hearts, and essaying 
every method to reclaim us. We should keep a register 
in our minds of ail the eminent blessings and deliver- 
ances we have met with; some whereof have been so 
conveyed, that we might clearly perceive they were not 
the issues of chance, but the gracious effects of the di- 
vine favour, and the signal returns of our prayers. Nor 
ought we to imbitter the thoughts of these things with 
any harsh or unworthy suspicion, as if they were design- 
ed on purpose to enhance our guilt, and heighten our 
eternal damnation. No, no, my friend, God is love, 
and he hath no pleasure in the ruin of his creatures; if 
they abuse his goodness, and turn his grace into wanton- 
ness, and thereby plunge themselves into greater depths 
of guilt and misery, this is the effect of their obstinate 
wickedness, and not the design of those benefits which 
he bestows. ' * 

' rr these considerations had once begotlcn in our hearts 



« 



68 THK LITE OF GOD 

A real love and affection towards Alinigl]|ty God, that 
would easily lead us unto the other branches of religion, 
and therefore I shall need say the less of them* 

To beget charity we must remember that all men 
are nearly related unto God. 
We shall find our hearts enlarged in charity towards 
men, by considering the relation wherein they stand 
tinto God, and the impresses of his image which are 
stamped upon them. They are not only his creatures, 
the workmanship of his hands, but such of whom he 
taketh special care, and for whom he hath a very dear 
and tender regai^; having laid the design of their hap- 
piness before the foundations of the world, and being 
willing to live and converse with them to all the ages of 
eternity. The meanest and most contemptible person 
whom we behold, is the offspring of heaven, one of the 
children of the Most High; and however unworthy he 
misht behave himself of that relation, so long as «God 
hath not abdicated and disowned him by a final sen-< 
tence, he will have us to acknowledge him as one of his, 
and as such to embrace him with a sincere and cordial 
affection. You know what a great concernment we are 
wont to have for those that do anywise belong to the 
person whom we love; how gladly we lay hold on ev- 
ery opportunity to gratiify the child or servant of a friend ; 
and sure our love towards God would as naturally spring 
fdrth in charity towards men, did we mind the interest 
that he is pleased to take in them, and consider that ev- 
ery Boul is dearer unto him than all the material world: 
and that he did not account the blood of his 86n too 
great a price for their redemption. 

7*hat they carry Ood*8 image upon them* 
Again, as all men stand in a near relation to God, so 
they have still so much of his image stamped upon them, 
as may oblige and exeite us to love them ; in some this 
image is more eminent and conspicuous, and we can 
discern the lovely traces of wisdom and goodness; and 
though in othersit is miserably sullied and defaced, yet 



i» 



IN THE nOVl, OF MAN. 69 

h 18 not altogether erased, some lineaments at least do 
still remain. All men are endued with rational and 
immortal souls, with undeistandings and wills capable of 
the highest and most excellent things; and if they be at 
present disordered and put out of tune by wickedness 
and foUy, this may indeed move our compassion, but 
ought not in reason to extinguish our love. When we 
see a person in a rugged humour, and perverse disposi- 
tion, fall of malice and dissimulation, very foolish and 
very proud, it is hard to fall in love with an object that 
presents itself unto us under an idea so little grateful 
and lovely. But when we shall xonsider these evil 
qualities as the diseases and distempers of a soul, which 
io itself is capable of all that wisdom and goodness 
wherewith the best of saints have ever been adorned, 
and which may one day come to be raised unto such 
faeights'of perfection as shall render it a fit companion for 
the holy angels, this willjum our aversion into pity, 
and make us behold him with such resentments as we 
should have when we look upon a b^utiful body that 
was mangled with woonds, or disfigured by some loath- 
some disease; and however we hate the vices, we shall 
not cease to love the man. 

To beget purity, wt should consider the dignity of 
our nature^ 
In the next place, for purifying our souls, and disen- 
tangling, our affections from the pleasures and enjojr*- 
ments of this lower life, let us frequently ponder the ex- 
cellency and dignity of our nature, and what a shame- 
ful and unworthy thing it is for so noble and divine a 
creature as the soul of man, to be sunk and immersed 
in brutish and sensual lust, or amused with aiiy and 
fantastical delights, and so to lose the. relish of solid 
and spiritual pleasures; that the beast should be fed and 
pampered, and the man and the christian be starved in 
ns. Did we but mind who we are, and for what we 
were made, this would teach us in a right sense to rev- 
erence and stand in awe of ourselves; it would beget a 
modesty and shame-facedness, and make us very shy 



70 THS LIFE or OOD 

and reserved in the use of the most innocent Aid alIo\r» 
ftb}e pleasures. 

We should meditate often on the joys of heaven* 
It will be very effectoal to the same purpose, that 
we frequently raise our minds towards heaven, and re- 
present (o our thoughts the joys that are at God's right 
hand, those pleasures that endure for evermore; for 
every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth 
himself even as he is pure. If our heavenly country 
be much in our thoughts, it will make us, as strangers 
and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war 
against the soul, and keep ourselves unspotted from tliis 
world, that we may be fit for the enjoyments and felici- 
ties of the other. But then we must see that our notions 
of heaven be not gross and carnal, that we dream not 
of a Mahometan paradise, nor rest on tliose metaphors 
and similitudes by which these joys are sometimes repre- 
sented; for this might, perhaps, have quite a contrary 
effect; it might entangle us further in carnal affections, 
and we should be ready to indulge ourselves in a very 
liberal foretaste of those pleasures, wherein we hadplaw 
ced our everlasting felicity. But when we come once 
to conceive aright of those pure and spiritual pleasures, 
when the happiness we propose to ourselves is from the 
sight, and love, and enjoyment of God, and our minds 
are filled with the hopes and forethoughts of that ble&ed 
estate;, O how mean and contemptible will all things 
here bjelow appear in our eyes! with what disdain shall 
we reject the gross and muddy pleasures that would de- 
prive us of those celestial enjoyments, or any way un- 
fit and indispose us for them. 

HumiUty arises from the consideration of our 
failings. 
The last branch of religion is humility, and sure- we 
can never want matter of consideration for begetting it: 
all our wickednesses and imperfections, all our follies 
and our sins, may help to pull down that fond and over- 
weening conceit which we are apt to entertain of our- 



IN THE SOVL. OF MAK. 71 

selves. That which makes any body esteem us, is 
their knowledge or apprehension of some little good, 
and their ignorance of a great deal of evil that may be 
in ns; were they thoroughly acquainted with us, they 
would quickly change their opinion. The thoughts 
that pass in our heart, in the best and most serious day 
of our life, being exposed unto public view, would ren- 
der us either hateful or ridiculous: and now, however 
we conceal our failings from one another, yet sure we 
are conscious of them ourselves, and some serious reflec- 
tions upon them would much qualify and allay the van- 
. ity of our spirits. Thus holy men have come really to 
think worse of thenLselves, than of any other person in 
the world: not but that they knew that gross and scan- 
dalous vices are, in their nature, more I^inous than the 
surprisals of temptations and infirmity; but because they 
were much more intent on their own miscarriages, thim 
on those of their neighbonis, and did consider all the ag- 
gravations of the one, and every thing that might be 
supposed to diminbh and alleviate the other. 

Thaughts of God give us th^ lowest thoughts of 
ourselves. 
But it is well observed by a pious writer, that the 
deepest and most pure humility doth not so much arise 
from the consideration of our own faults and defects, as 
from a calm and quiet contemplation of the divine puri- 
ty and goodness. Our spots never appear so clearly, 
as when we place them before this infinite light; and we 
never seem less in our own eyes, than when we look 
down upon ourselves from ou high. O how little, how 
nothing do all those shadows of perfection then appear, 
for wWch we are wont to value ourselves! That hu- 
mility which Cometh from a view of our own sinfulness 
and misery, is more turbulent and boisterous; but the 
other layeth us full as low, and wanteth nothing of that 
anguish and vexation wherewith our souls are apt to boil 
when they are the nearest objects of our thoughts. 



72 THE LIFE OF GOD 

Prayet'i another instYument of religion^ and the 
advantages of mental prayer. 
There remaina yet another means for begetting a holj 
and religious disposition in the soul; and that is, fervent 
and hearty prayer. Holiness is the gift of God; indeed 
the greatest gift he doth bestow, or we are capable to re- 
ceive; and he hath promised his holy Spirit to those that 
ask it of him. In prayer we make the nearest approach- 
-es to God, and lie open to the influences of heaven: then 
it is that the son of righteousness doth visit us with his 
directest rays, and dissipateth our darkness, and imprint- 
«th his image on our souls. I cannot now insist on the 
advantages of this exercise, or the dispositions where- 
with it ought to foe peiTormed, and there is no need I 
should, therd being so many books that treat on this 
subject; 1 shall only tell you, that as there is one sort of 
prayer wherein we make use of the voice, which is 
necessary in public, and may sometimes have its own 
advantages in private; and another wherein though we 
ntter no sound, yet we conceive the expressions and 
form the words, as it were, in our minds: so there is a 
third and more sublime kind of prayer, wherein the soul 
takes a higher flight, and having collected all its forces 
by long and serious meditation, it darteth itself (if I 
may so speak) towards God In sighs, and groans, 
and thoughts too big for expression. As when, after a 
deep contemplation oi the divine perfections appearing 
in all his works of wonder, it addresseth itself unto him 
in the profoundest adoration of his majesty and glory: or 
when, after sad reflections on its vileness and miscar- 
riages, it prostrates itself before him with the greatest 
confusion and sorrow, not daring to lift up its eyes, or 
utter one word in his presence: or when having well con- 
sidered the beauty of holiness, and the unspeakable fe- 
licity of those that are truly good, it panteth after God, 
^nd sendeth up such vigorous and ardent desires as no 
words can sufficiently express, continuing and repeating 
each of these acts as lon^ as it finds itself upheld by the 
force and impulse of the previous meditation. 



IN THE SOUI* OF MAN. 7^ 

This mental prayer is of all othens the most efTectnal ' 
to purify the soul, and dispose it unto a holy and reli- 
gious temper, and may be termed t]>e great secret of de- 
votion, and one of the most powerful instruments of the 
divine life; and it may be the apostle hath a peculiar 
respect unto it, when he saith, that the Spirit helpeth 
our infirmities, making intercession for us with 
groanings that cannot he uttered; or, the original 
may bear, that cannot he worded. Yet I do not so 
recommend this sort of prayer, as to supersede the use 
of the other; for we have so many several things to pray 
for, and every petition of this nature requiretli so much 
time, and so great an intention of spirit, that it were 
not easy therein to overtake them all; to say nothing 
that the deep sighs and heavings of the heart which are 
wont to accompany it, are something oppressive to na- 
ture, and make it hard to continue long in them. But 
certainly a few of these inward aspirations, will do more 
than a great many fluent and melting expressions. 

Religion is to he advanced hy the same means by 
which it is hegun; and the use of the holy Sa- 
crament towards it. 

Thus, my dear friend, I have briefly proposed the 
method which I judge proper for moulding the soul 
into a holy frame; and the same means which serve to 
beget this divine temper, must still be practised for 
strengthening and advancing it; and therefore I shall re- 
commend but one more for that purpose, and that is the 
frequent and conscientious use of that holy Sacrament, 
which is peculiarly appointed to nourish and increase 
the spiritual life, when once it is begotten in the soul. 
All the instruments of religion do meet together in this 
ordinance; and while we address ourselves unto it, we 
are put to practise all the rules which were mentioned be- 
fore. Then it is that we make the severest survey of 
our actions, and lay the strictest obligations on ourselves^ 
then are our minds raised to the highest contempt of the 
world, and every grace doth exercise itself with the 
greatest activity and vigour; all the subjects of contem- 
7 



74 THE LirS OF OOD ^ 

plation do there present themselvea unto ns with the 
greatest advanti^e; and then, if ever, doth the soul 
make its most powerfiil sallies towards heaven, and 
assault it with a holy and acceptable force. And cer- 
tainly the neglect or careless performance of this daty> 
is one of the chief causes that bedwarfs our religion, and 
makes ns continue of so low a size. 

But it is time I should put a clo<ie to this letter, 
which is grown to a far greater bulk than at first I in- 
tended: if these poor papers can do you the smallest ser- 
vice, I shall think myself very happy in this undertak- 
ing; at least, I am hopeful you will kindly accept the 
sincere endeavours of a person who would fain acquit 
himself of some part of that which he owes you. 

A PRATER. 

'* And now, O most gracious God, Father and Fountain 
of mercy and goodness, who hast blessed us with the 
knowledge of our happiness, and the way that leadeth 
unto it, excite in our souls such ardent desires after the 
one, as may put us forth to the diligent prosecution of 
the other. Let us neither presume on our own strength, 
nor distrust thy divine assistance; but while we are do- 
ing our utmost endeavours, teach us still to depend on 
thee for success Open our eyes, O God, and teach 
ns out of thy law Bless us with an exact and tender 
sense of our duty, and a knowledge to discern perverse 
things. O that our virays were directed to keep thy 
statutes, then shall we not be ashamed when we have 
respect unto all thy commandments. Possess our hearts 
with a generous and holy disdain of all those poor en- 
joyments which this world holdeth out to allure us, that 
they may never be able to inveigle our affections, or 
betray us to any sin: turn away our eyes from behold- 
ing vanity, and quicken thou us ui thy law. Fill our 
souls with such a deep sense and full persuasion of 
those great truths which thou hast revealed in the gos- 
ye\, as mav influence and regulate our who]e conversa- 
tion; and that the life which we henceforth live in the 
flesh, we may live through faith in the Son of God. O 



IN THE BOVl^ OF MAN. 75 

that the infinite perfections of thy blessed nature, and 
the astonisliing expressions of thy goodness and love, 
may conquer and overpower our hearts, that they may 
be constantly rising toward thee in flames of the devout- 
est nffectionj and enlarging themselves in sincere and 
cbrdial love towards all the world, for thj sake; and 
that we may cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh 
and spirit, perfectiiig holiness in thy fear, without which 
we can never hope to behold and enjoy thee. Finally, 
O God, grant that the consideration of what thou art, 
and what we ourselves are, may both humble and lay 
us low before thee, and also stir up in us the strongest 
ai^d most ardent aspirations towards thee. We desire 
to rc<.i^ and give up ourselves to the conduct of thy 
holy Spirit; lead us in thy truth, and teach us, for thou 
art the God of our salvation; guide us with thy counsel, 
and afterwards receive us imto glory, for the merits and 
intercession of thy blessed Son our Saviour.'* Amen. 



NINE DISCOVRSGS 

OK 

IMPORTANT SUBJECTS. 



THE SUPERIOR EXCELLENCY OF THE 
RELIGIOUS. 

PROV. XII. 26. 
7%e righteous U more excellent than his neighbour. 

He who cooBtdereth the excellency and advantage of 
piety and religion, how conformable it is to the besit 
principle of oar nature, and how profitable to oar 
interests, may ja$)t wonder and be surprised at the bad 
entertainment it receives in the world; and easily con- 
clude, that this mast needs flow from some gross mis' 
takes aboat it, and prejudices against it; since it is so 
natural to us to love that which is good, and delight 
in that which is amiable, when things are not misrep- 
resented. 

Certainly all who are enemies to holiness, have 
taken up false measures and disadvantageous notions 
of it. The sensual person hateth it as harsh and un- 
pleasant, doing violence to his carnal appetites; and 
looks on religion as a contrivance to deprive and rob 
him of the pleasures of this world, by proposing those of 
another. The politic wit slights it as foolish and im- 
prudent; and though he acknowledges it a necessary 
instroment of government, a good device to overawe a 
multitude, yet he counts a great weakness to be farther 
concerned in it than may be consistent with; and sub- 



78 THE 8UPSRI0R EXCELLENCY 

servient to secular designs. Again, the gallants of our 
age despise it as a base ignoble temper, unworthy of a 
high birth and genteel education, incident to meaner 
souls, proceeding from cowardly and superstitious fear, 
depressing the mind, and rendering it incapable of high 
and aspiring thoughts. Hence they make it their busi- 
ness to pour contempt upon piety, and advance the 
reputation of those vicious courses which themselves 
have embraced; and because there are yet some left, 
who, by pmctising and recommending virtue, da oppose 
and condemn their lewd practices, they study to avenge 
themselves on them by the persecution of their tongues, 
and all the scoffi and reproaches they can invent and 
utter: which hath proved a mean most unhappily suc- 
cessful to deter many weak minds from goodness, ma^ 
king them choose to be wicked that they may not be 
laughed at. 

It is to discover the grossness pf this mistake, and ex- 
pose the absurdities and unreasonableness of these princi- 
ples and practices; to vindicate the excellency of piety, 
and to recommend it to all truly generous souls, tluit we 
have made choice of this text, which tells us in short 
and phiin terms, that the righteous ia more excellent 
than his neighbour. 

None can be so little acquainted with the scripture 
dialect, as not to know, that though righteousness in 
its truest acceptation importeth only the observation of 
those duties we owe our neighbour, yet it is usually 
takeii more largely for piety and vurtue in general. 
And good reason too, mnce there is no part of our duty 
bat we owe it as a debt unto God; no exercise of religion' 
Irat it ip an act of justice: whence the clear importance 
of the text is, that whatever excellency other persons 
may pretend to, the pious and religious men are the 
truly noble and generous persons hi the world; as the- 
Psalmist expresseth it. The saints are excellent ones 
in the earth. 

Now, we shall not trouble you with any further ex- 
plicatk>n of the words, which are so clear, or with any- 
division of a proposition so simple: but shall illastmte 



OF THE REI.IGI0U8. 79 

and confirm the assertion, by producing sach tindonbtod 
evidences of nobleness and excellency > as are proper to' 
godliness, and to those who practise it: where we may 
have occasion to hint at' sach characfere of a pious man, 
as, besides the general design, may perhaps serre to 
put us in mind of some parts of our daty which we are 
not so careful to observe; and which therefore may be 
useful even^to those who have already embracer the 
practice of religion. 

Being to speak of the nobleness and excellency of 
religion, it may be expected we should say something of 
its origin and extract; that being the whole of nobility 
which some understand, and others pretend to. We 
might take occasion to discover the folly of glorying in 
the antiquity of an illustrious house, or the famed virtue 
of worthy ancestors, who, perhaps, were they alive, 
would disown their degenerate progeny. But I shall 
not insist upon this; it is a vanity which hath been 
chastised sufficiently even by Heathen pens. Nay, we 
shall so far comply with the common sentiments of the 
world, as to acknowledge, that high birth and liberal ed- 
ucation may contribute much to elevate the minds of 
men, and acciUtpm them to great thoughts. But sure, 
whatever advantages any may pretend to by their birth, 
there ate none to be preferred to the children of God, 

. the blood-royal of heaven, the brethren of Christ; of 
whom we may say, that as he b, so are they, each one 
resembling the son of a king. 

) If we trace the lines of earthly extraction, we shall 
find them all meet ia one point; all terminate in dust and 
earth. But in the heraldry of heaven we shall find a two- 
to\d pedigree. Sin is the oi&pring of hell, and wicked 
men are of their father the devil whose work they per- 
form. On the other hand, holiness is the seed of God, 
and the saints have obtained to be called the sons of the 
Most High. And think not these are empty titles, and 
big words, to amuse the world; no, they are equally just 
and important. I'ious men are really partakers of the 
divine nature, and shall obtain an interest in the inheri- 
tance which is enttuled on that i;e]ation. Never were the 



80 TBE SUPERIOR EXCELIiUNCY 

qualities of a parent more really derived unto their chil- 
dren, than the image and similitude of the divine excel- 
lencies are ^tamped upon these heaven-bom souls: some 
beams of that eternal li^ht are darted in upon them, and 
make them shine with an eminent splendour; and they 
are always aspiring to a nearer conformity with him, still 
breathing after a further communication of his Holy 
Spirit, and daily finding the power thereof 'correcting the 
ruder deformities of their natures, and superinducing the 
beautiful delineations of God's image upon them, that 
any who observe them may perceive their relation to 
God, by the excellency of tfaeu' deportment in the world; 
as will clearly appear in the sequel of our discourse. 
Having spoken of the righteous or godly man's excel- 
lency, in regard of his bir£ and extraction, we proceed 
to consider his qualities and endowments; and shall be- 
gin with those of his understanding, his knowledge and 
wisdom. The wise man tells us, that a man of un^ 
derstanding is of an excellent spirit. And sure, if 
any man in the world is to be accounted of for knowl- 
edge, it is the pious man. His knowledge is conversant 
about the noblest objects; he contemplates that infinite 
being, whose perfections can never enough be admired, 
but still afford new matter to astonish and delight him; 
to radish his affections, to raise his wonder. He studies 
the law of God, which maketh him wiser than all 
bis teachers. As the reverend Dr. Tillotson hath it, 
" It is deservedly accounted an excellent piece of 
knowledge, to understand the laws of the land, the cus- 
toms of Uie country we live in; how much more to know 
the statutes of heaven, the eternal laws of righteousness, 
the will of the universal monarch, and the customs of 
that country where we hope to live for ever.*' And, 
if we have a mind to the studies of nature and human 
science, he is best disposed for it, having his faculties 
cleared, and his understanding heightened by divine con- 
templations. 

^ But his knowledge doth not rest in speculations, but 
directeth his practice, and detejmineth his choice. And 
he is the most prudent as well as the most knowing per- 



OP THS BKLIGIOIJ«. 81 

son. He knows bow to secure his greatest interest; to 
provide for the longest life; to prefer solid pleasures to 
gilded trifles; the soul to the body ; eternity to a -moment. 
He knoweth the temper of his own spirit^ he can mod- 
erate his passions, and overrule his carnal appetites; 
which certainly is a far more important piece of wisdom, 
than to undeistand the intrigues of a state; to fathom the 
councils of princes; to know the pulse of a people, or 
balance the interest of kingdoms. Yea, piety doth 
heighten and advance even moral prudence, itself; both 
obliging and directing a man to order his affairs with 
discretion: it maketh the simple wise. And what was 
said by holy David, and twice repeated by his wise son» 
will hold good in every man's appearance, that the 
fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And 
thus much of the knowledge and wisdom wherein the 
righteous man excelleth his neighbour. 

We proceed to another of his endowments, the great- 
ness of his mind, and his contempt of the world. We 
can never take better measures of a man's spirit than 
from the things he delighteth in, and sets his heart up- 
on: Qualis amor, talis-nnimus. To be taken up with 
trifles, and concerned in little things, is an evidence of 
a weak and naughty mind. And so-are all wicked and 
irreligious persons: their thoughts are confined to low 
and mean things; designs of scraping together money, or 
spending it in luxury; or of satisfying a passion or plea- 
sing a Just; of obtaining the favour of great ones or the 
applause of the Vulgar. The greatest happiness they 
aim at, is, to be master of the country where they live, 
to dwell in stately houses, and to be backed with a train 
of attendants; to lie soflly, and fare deliciously, and 
such like attainments; which a wise man ^ould think 
himself unhappy if he could not despise. 

But the pious person hath his thoughts far above these 
painted vanities; his felicity is not patched up of so mean 
shreds; it is simple and comprised in one chief good: 
lus soul advanceth itself by rational passions towards th^ 
author of its bemg, the fountain of goodness and pleasures 



81 THE BVPEflipR EXCELLKNCT 

He hath none in heaven but, him; and there k nene up- 
on earth whom he degiros beside him. 

The knowledge of nature hath been reputed a good 
mean to enlarge the soul, and br^cd in it a contempt of 
earthly enjoyments. He that hath accustomed himself 
to cx>nsider the vastness of the universe, and the small 
proportion whicli the point we live in bears to the rest 
of the world, may perhaps come to think less of the 
possessions of some acres, or of that fame which can at 
most spread itself through a small comer of this earth. 
Whatever be in this, .sure I am that the knowledge of 
God, and the frequent thoughts of heaven, must needs 
prove far more eflfectual to elevate and aggrandize the 
mind. When once the soul by contemplation is raised 
to any right apprehension of the divine perfections, and 
the foretastes of celestial bliss, how will this world, and 
all that is in it, vanish and disappear before his eyes?, 
with what holy disdain will he look down upon things, 
which are the highest objects of other men's ambitions 
desires? AH the splendour of courts, all the pageantry 
of greatness, will no more dazzle his eyes, than the faint 
lustre of a glow-worm will trouble the eagle, after it 
hath been beholding the sun. He is little concerned 
who obtained this dignity, or that fortune; who sits high- 
est at table or goes first out of the door. His thoughts 
are taken up with greater matters; how he shall please 
his IVIaker, and obtain an interest in that land of prom- 
ise, some of the fruits whereof he hath already tasted. 
And from thence ariseth that constant and equal frame 
of spirit, which the pious man's mind maintains in all the 
clianges and vicissitudes of things; while he who hath 
not lus spirit balanced with religious principles, is lift 
up and cast down like a ship on the sea, with every 
variation of fortune, and partakes perhaps of all the 
motions of this inferior world, wherennto his heart and 
affections are fastened. And certainly he must be far 
more happy and generous both, who sitteth loose to the 
world, and can with the greatest calmness and tranquil- 
lity poaseas his own soul, while all things -without are 



or THE RELIGIOITfl. 88 

hurry and eonfosioii. Private diaasters cannot diicoin- 
pose him, nor public calamities reach him; he looks up- 
on the tronbles and combostions of the world, as men 
do on the rain and desolation of cities wherein them- 
selves have little interest, with no other concernment 
than that of pity, to see men trouble themselves and 
others to so little purpose. Si fraetus illabatur 
orb is: If the world should shake and the foundations of 
the eart^ be removed; yet would he rest secure in a 
full acquiescence to the will of God, and confident de- 
pendence on his providence: He shall not be afraid of 
evil tidings: and his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. 
And this, by. the affinity, will lead us to another en- 
dowment, wherein the excellency of the righteous man 
doth appear; and that is, that heroic magnanimity and 
courage wherein he is inspired, and which makes him 
confidently achieve the most difficult actions, and re- 
solutely undei^o the hardest sufierings that he is called 
to. For this see the epistle to the Hebrews , chap. xi. v. 
33. Through faith some have subdued kingdoms; this 
was their active courage; ver. 35. Others again were 
tortured, &c. this was their passive courage; which in 
Christians is must eminent and useful. True valour doth 
more appear by suffering than by doing; and doubtless 
this is the hanlest trial of the two. Were it not for suf- 
fering hardships, the greatest coward in the world would 
be man enough for tne highest enterprises. It is not so 
much the difficulty of great actions, as the danger that 
attends them, which makes men fear to undertake them: 
so that to suffer cheerfully must be the greatest, proof of 
courage. And sure, we may appeal to the world to pro- 
duce such eminent instances of fortitude and resolution, 
as Christian martyrs have shown under those torments 
which cannot be mentioned without horror. How often 
hath their constancy amazed their bloody persecutoiB 
and outwearied the cruelties of their tormentors! Nor 
was this patience perforce: they might have saved them- 
seWes that trouble, by throwing a little incense into the 
fire, or speaking a few blasphemous words; but well had 
they learned, not to fear those who can kill the body. 



84 THC sirpBax'oR exgellenct 

fcc. Nor were they borne out by an obstinate hamcftir, 
and porveise stoical wilfulness: they were neither stu- 
pid and insensible, nor proud and self-conceited: but 
their sufferings were undertaken with calmness, and 
sustained with moderation/ 

Let Heathen Rome boast of a Regulus, a Decius, 
of some two or three more, stimulated by a desire of 
glory, and perhaps animated by some secret hopes of 
future reward, who have devoted their life to the service 
of their country. But alas! what is this to an infinite 
number, not only of men but even of women and chil- 
dren, who have died for the profession of their faith; 
neither seeking or expecting any praise from men? . 
And tell me who among the heathen did willingly en«- 
dure the loss of reputation? Nay, that was their idol, 
and they could not part with it. And certainly it is 
great meanness of spirit, to be overawed Ivith fear of 
disgrace, and depend upon the thoughts of the people. 
True courage doth equally fortify the mind against all 
those evils, and will make a man hazard his honour, as 
well as other things, when occasion calls for it 

Now, if the celebrated actions of the Heathens come 
short of true courage, what shall we say of the furious 
boldness of the Hectors of our age, who pretend to prow- 
ess and gallantry by far less reasonable methods? when, 
blinded with passion, and animated with wine, they are 
ready enough, on half a quarrel, to hazard their own 
and their neighbour's life, and soul too, in a duel? yea, 
they will not stand to brave heaven itself, and provoke 
the Almighty by their horrid oaths and blasphemies. 
And one should think, that these must needs be the 
hardiest and most valiant people in the world; if they 
are not afraid of the Almighty, sure nothing else should 
fright them. And yet you shall find these very persons, 
when cast on a bed by sickness, or brought to the scaf- 
fold by justice, to betray a miserableTaintness and pusil- 
lanimity: they are forced now to think on the terrors of 
death, and the more' terrible consequences of it; and their 
counterfeit courage, being destitute of those props which 
formerly sustained it, doth now discover its weuknesg. 



OF THE RELIOIOIfi, 86 

Nor is it any wonder: for what should make a man wi^ 
lingly leave this world, unless he expected a more happy 
(wndition in another? Certainly there is nothing can foiw 
tify the soul with a tnie and manly conrage, but a con- 
fidence in God and hopes of future blesradness. The 
wicked flee wheii no man pnrsaeth; bat the right* 
eons is bold as a lion; and from that accoonted more 
excellent than his neighbour. 

From courage and uiagnanimity we pass to that 
which is the genuine issue and ordinary consequence 
of it, the liberty and freedom of the righteous person. 
Liberty is a privilege so highly jrated by all men, that 
many run the greatest faazanls for the very name of it: 
but there are tew that enjoy it. I shall not speak of 
those fetters of ceremony, and chains of state, where- 
vnth great men are tied; which makes their actions con- 
strained, and their converse uneasy: this is more to, be 
pitied than blamed. But wicked and irreligious per- 
sons are under a far more shameful bondage: they are 
slaves to their own lusts, and suffer the violence and 
tyranny of their irregular appetites. This is frequently 
talked of, but seldom considered or believed; and 
tiierefore it will not be amiss to bring an instance or 
two for the illustration of it. Observe a passionate 
man, and you shall find him frequently transported and 
overpowered by his anger, and carried to those extre- 
mities, of which a little time makes him ashamed; and 
Jie becomes as much displeased with himself, as formerly 
he was with his adversary: and yet on the^ext occasion, 
he will obey that same passion which be hath condem- 
ned. What a drudge is a covetous man to his riches, 
which takes up his thoughts all the day long, and break 
his sleep in the night? How must the ambitious man 
fawn and. flatter, and cross his humour with hopes to 
satisfy it; stoop to the ground that he may aspire, 
courting and caressing those whom he hates; which, 
doubtless, is done wiSi a great violence and constraint. 
. The drunkard, when he awakes and hath slept out his 
cnps and his frolic humour, and finds his head aching* 
8 



86 THE SVPERtOR EXCfiLLBKCT 

hlfl Stomach qualmish, and perhaps his pnise empty, 
and reflects on the folly and onhandBome expressions 
or actions he may have fallen into in his drink, how will 
he condemn himself for that excess? what harangues 
shall we have from him in the praise of temperance! 
what promises and resolutions of future sobriety! and 
yet, on the next occasion, the poor slave shall be drag- 
ged away to the tavern by those whom he must call . 
his friends; and thank them who put that abuse upoh 
him, which a wise and sober person will rather die than 
suffer. Further, the luxurious would fain preserve or- 
recover his health; and to this end finds it requisite to 
keep a temperate and sober diet. No; but he must not. 
He is present at a feast, and his superior appetite calls 
for a laige measure of delicious fare; and his palate 
must be pleased, though the whole body should suffer 
for it: or he hath met with a lewd .woman; and though 
his whole bones should rot, and a dart strike throujgh 
his liver, yet must he obey the command of his lusts: 
He soeth after her straightway, as the ox goeth to the 
slau^ter, or as a fool to tho correction of the stocks. 
Now, there can be no greater evidence of slavery and 
bondage, than thus to So what themselves know to be 
prejudicial. It were easy to illustrate this bondage and 
thraldom of the soul, in all the other instances of vied 
and impiety: And certaudy what St. Peter saith of 
some false teachers, may be well applied to all wicked 
persons: while they promised freedom, they themselves 
are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man ia 
overcome, of the same is be brought in bondage. 

But the holy and religious person hath broken these 
fetters; cast on the yoke of sin,vand become the free- 
man of the Lord. It is religion' that restores freedom 
to the soul which philosophy did pretend to: it b that 
which doth sway and moderate all those blind passions 
and impetuous affections, which else wovld mnder a 
man from the possession and enjoyment of himself; and 
makes him master of his own thoughts, motions, and 
desires, that he may do with freedom what he judgeth- 



• OF THS RBI.XCI0178. ^7 

most honest and convenient. And thus the righteow 
man excelleth his neighbour, as much as a ffeeman 
doth the basest slave. 

. Another particular, wherein the nobleness and excel- 
lency of religion doth appear, is in a charitabio and be- 
nign temper. There is no greater evidence of a base 
and narrow soul, than for a man to have all his thonchts 
taken np with private and selfish interest; and so, if they 
be well, not to care what becometh of the rest of the 
world. On the other hand, an extensive charity and 
kindness, as it is the one half of our religion, so it is an 
eminent point of generosity. The. righteous is gracious, 
and full of compariion; he showeth favour and lendeth; 
and makes it his work to serve mankind as much as he 
is able. His bounty is not confined to his kindred and 
relations, to those of his own party and mode of reli- 
gion: this were but a disguised kind of self-love. It is 
enough to him that they are christians; or, if they were 
not, 'yet are they men; and therefore deserve our pity, 
but not our hatred or neglect, because of their errors. 
It is true, he carries a special kindness for those in 
whom he discovers a {principle of- goodness and virtue; 
in those excellent ones is all his delight. But then he 
doth not take his measure so much from their judgment 
and opinions, as from the integrity of their life, and ex- 
actness of their practices. 

His charity doth not express itself in one particular 
Instance, as that of giving alms; but is vented as many 
ways as the variety of occasions do call for, and his 
power can reach to. He assisteth the poor with his 
money; theJgnorant with his counsel; the afflicted with 
his comfort; the sick with the best of his skill: all with 
his blessings and prayers. If he cannot build hospitals, 
' yet he will study to persuade those who can: if he hath 
no money to redeem captives, yet will he employ his 
interest in .^e* court of heaven for their deliverance: 
though he cannot recover a dying child to the afflicted pa- 
rents, yet will he endeavour to persuade them to submis- 
sion and resignation, which will render them more hap- 
.py; and will go hard, but he will find some way, eithe*^ 



88 THK fVPXaiOR ■ZCBLX.BNCT 

to benefit or oblige every man with wfaom he eonvem- 
eth. Let no man vpbraid ub with the contrary prac- 
tices of many high pretenders to religion, who are 
notedly eelfiah and cimrliah persons. We are not to 
defend the actions of all who would be thought godly; 
nor roust you take your measures of piety from wluit 
yon observe in them. But look through the gospel, and 
you shall find charity and ^unty so passionately re- 
commended, so frequently inculcated, and so indispen- 
sably required, that you may easily conclude there are 
no christians in earnest, but thcMO who practise it. 
Yea, so peculiar is this liberal and benign temper to 
holy and religious persons, that nothing but a faint re- 
semblance and false imitation is to be found elsewhere 
in the world. Other men's seeming bounty is always 
marred by the base principle it proceeds from, and sel- 
fish end it tends to. The Apostle hath told us, that a 
man may give all his goods to feed the poor, and ye| 
want cm&nty; and all these expenses shall profit him 
nothing. Importunity may perhaps wring something 
«ut of his pocket, or a willingness ta be delivered fronk 
the trouble of a miserable spectacle, but vanity and a 
desire of applause, have usually the greatest interest in 
his distributions. This made the hypocrites of old pro-' 
claim their alms with trumpets; and this makes their 
successors in our times delight to have their good works 
of this kind recorded to the greatest advantage, that 
posterity may read them on wails and public registers. 
Tp the same principle must we refer what m the 
world passeth for a very considerable instance of gen- 
erosity, the keeping of a great house and well furnish* 
ed table: which nevertheless is more ordinarily the 
effect of pride and vain glory, than of humility or hos- 
pitality. It is a part of their splendour and state; and 
they deck their tables for the same end that they put, 

' on fine clothes, to be talked of and admired in the 
worid. You may gne^ it by the persons whom they 
entertain; who are usually such as need least of their 

- charity, and for whom they have many timesas little 
kindness or concernment, as an umkeeper for his 



OP THB RELIGIOUS. 99 

gnests; nor are they lees mercenaiy. than he; the one 
selle his meat for money, the other for praiw. Far 
more generous is the praotice of the pions man; who, as 
he chooseth most to benefit those .who can make him no 
recompense, so he doth not trouble the world with the 
noise of his charity; yea, his left hand knoweth not 
what his right hand bestoweth: and that which doth 
most endear his bounty, is \he love and affection 
whence it proceeds. 

We shall name but one instance more wherein the 
righteous man exceil^ his neighbour; and that is, his 
Tenerable temperance and purity. He hath risen 
above the vaporous sphere of sensual pleasure, which 
darkeneth and debaseth the mind, which sullies its 
lustre, and abates its native vigour; while profane 
persons, wallowing in impure lusts, do sink them- 
selves below the condition of men. Can there be any 
spark of generosity, any degree of excellency in him 
who makes his belly his god, or places his felicity in 
the embraces of a strumpet? We spoke before of the 
slavery, we speak now of the deformity of these sins: 
and shall add, that one of the most shameful and mis- 
erable spectacles io the worrd, is, to see a man bom to 
the use of reason, and perhaps to an eminent fortune, 
drink away his religion, his reason, his sense; and so 
expose himself to & pity of wise men, the contempt 
of his own servants, the derision of his children, — and 
fools to every danger, and to eveiv snare; and that 
this must pass in the eyes of many for a piece of gal- 
lanty, and necessary accomplishment of a gentle- 
man. Good God! how are the minds of men poisoned 
with perverse notions? what unreasonable measures do 
they take of things? We may expect next they shall 
commend theft, and make harangues to the praise of 
parricide; for they are daily advancing the boldness of 
their impieties, and with confidence avowing them. 
Other ages have practised wickedness; but to ours is , 
reserved the impudence to glory in them. But would 
men but open their own eyes, and give way to the 
sentiments of there own minds, they would soon alter 
8* 



90 THS SUPERIOR XXCXLLBITCT 

their maximt, and discover the miserable d^rmity of 
vice, and the amiable beaaty and majesty of religion; 
that it doth at once adorn and advance the hnman 
nature, and hath in it every thia^ generous and noble, 
cheeifol and spiritual, free and ugenuons; in a word» 
that the righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. 

Before we proceed further, it will be necessary to take 
off some prejudices and objections that arise against j(he 
nobleness and-excellency of religion. And the first is. 
That it enjoineth lowliness and humility ; which men 
ordinarily look upon as an abject and base disposition. 
What, will they say, can ever that man aspire to any 
tiling that is excellent, whose principles oblige him to 
lie low and grovel on the ground; who thinks nothing of 
himself, and is content that all the world think nothing 
of him? Is this a disposition fit for an^ but those whose 
cross fortune obliged them to suffer miseries and affironts? 
Such are men's thoughts of humility, which God loves 
80 much, that we may say he sent his own Son from 
heaven to teach and recommend it. But if we ponder 
the roacter, we shall find, that arrogance and pride are 
the issues of base and silly minds, a giddiness incident , 
to those who are raised suddenly to unaccustomed 
height; nor is there any vice doth more palpably defeat 
its own design, deprivmg a man of that honour and rep- 
utation which it makes him aim at. 

On the other hand, we shall find humOity no silly and 
sneaking quality; but the greatest height and sublimity 
of the mind, and the only way to true honour: Before 
destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before hon- 
our is humility. Lowliness is the endowment of high- 
bom and well-educated souls, who are acquainted with 
the knowled^se of excellent things; and therefore do not 
doat upoir trifles, or admire little things merely becausd 
they are their own. They have no such high opinion 
of riches, beauty, strength, or other the like advantages, 
as to value themselves for them, or to despise those who 
want them: but they study to surmount themselves, and 
all the little attainments they have hitherto reached, and 
are still lispiruig to higher and more noble thlngsC And 



or TBS KXLIGIOVB. 91 

it is worth our notice, <* that the most deep and pore ho- 
mility doth not so much arise from the consideration of 
ovr fanlts and defects, (thoogh that also may have its 
own place,) as fiom a calm contemplation of the divine 
perfections. By reflecting on ourselves, we may dis- 
cover something of onr own sinfiUness and misery; and 
thereby be filled with a kind of boisteroos and turbulent 
grief and indignation: but, by fixing our eyes on the in- 
-finite greatness and holiness of G^, we are most fully 
convinced of our own meanness. This will sink us to 
the very bottom of our beings, and make us appear as 
nothing in our own sight, when beheld firom so ^reat a 
height" And this is really the greatest elevation of 
the soul; and there is nothing in the world so noble 
and excellent as the snblimitv of humble mindk 

Another objection against the excellency of a religions 
temper, is, That the love of ettemieSk<|nd pardon of inju- 
ries, which it includeth, is utterly inconsistent with the 
principles of honour. Now, though it be highly unreas- 
onable to examine the laws of our Saviour by such rules 
as thb, yet we shall consider the matter a little. Nor 
shall we seek to elude or qualify this precept, as some 
do, by such gloases and evasions as may suit with their 
own practices: nay, we shall freely profess, that there 
' is no salvation without the observation of it A man 
had even as well abandon Christianity, and renounce his 
biqptism, as obstinately refuse to obey it But if we 
have any value for the judgment of the wisest man and 
a great king, he will tell us, that it is the honour of man 
to cease from strife; and he that is slow to wrath, is of 
great understanding. The meek and lowly person 
fiveth above the reach of petty injuries; and blunts the 
edM of the greatest by his patience and constancy; and 
hatii compassion towards toose who offend hiin: being 
more sorry for the prejudice they do themselves, than 
for that which they mtended him. And let all the worid 
judge whether it he more generous to pity and love even 
those who hate us, and to pardon the greatest offences, 
than peevishly to quarrel on every petty occasion, and 
make men fear our passion, hate our humour, and aban- 



92 TRB BtTPVRIOB BZCVtLSNCT 

don our society? So that vrfaat is here brought lb an ob- 
jection against seli|pon, might with reason enough have 
been bronght as an instance of its nobleness. 

Having thns illustrated and confirmed what is asserted 
in the text, that the righteous is more excellent than hia 
ne^hbonr; let ns improve it as a check to that profane 
and atheistical spirit of drollery and scoffing at religion, 
which hath got abroad in the world. Alas! do men 
consider what it is which they make'the butt of their 
scoffi and reproaches? Have they nothing else to exer- 
cise jtheir wit and vent their jests- npon, but that which 
is the most noble and excellent thing m the world? 
What design can they propose unto themselves by thi» 
kind of impiety? Would they have religion banished 
from the face of the earth, and forced to retire for shamed 
What a goodly world should we then have of it! what a 
fine harmony and order of things! Certainly the earth 
would then become a kind of hell, with tumults ana se- 
ditions, rapines and murders, secret malice, and open • 
frauds, by every vice and every calamity. 'Tis only 
some little remainders of piety and virtue in the world 
that keep it in any tolerable condition, or make it possi- 
ble to be inhabited. And mnst not those be wretched 
persons; and woful enemies to mankind, who do what 
they can to reduce the world to such a miserable condi- 
tion? But let them do what they wUl; they but kick 
against the pricks. ReKgion hath so much native lustre 
and beauty, that, notwittetanding all the dirt they study 
to cast upon it; all the melancholy and deformedshapes: 
they dress it in, it will attract the eyes and admiration of 
all sober and ingenuous persons: and while these men 
study to make it ridiculous, they shall but make them- 
selves so. And 0! that they would consider how dear 
they are to pay foi those dull and insipid jests where- 
with they persecute religion, and those who practise it or 
recommend it! what t£)ughts they are like to have of 
them when sickness shall arrist» and 'death threaten 
them, when the physicians shall have forsaken them, and 
the poor despised minister k called in, and they expect- 
itig comfort from him they were wont to mock, and per- 



OF THB aSLIGIOUf. 9S 

hi^ it 18 Utde he can afibrd them. O that they were 
wise, and undeistood this, that they would consider their 
latter end! 

There are others who have not yet arrived to this 
height of profaneneas, to laogh at aU religion; bat do 
vent their malice at those who are more conscientiooa 
and severe than themselves, onder presomption that they 
are hypocrites and dissemblerB. Bat besides that in thu 
they may be gailty of a great deal of oncharitableness, 
it is to be suspected that they bear some secret dislike to 
pietv itself, and hate hypocrisy more for its resemblance 
of that, than for its own vicioosness; otherwise whence 
comes it that they do not express the same animosity 
against other vices? 

Hitherto also may we refer those expressions which 
sometimes drop from persons not so utterly- debaacbed, 
bat which yet are blasphemoos and profane; that this 
man is too holy, and tnat man too religions, as if it 
were possible to exceed in these things. What! can a 
man approach too near to God? Can he be too like his 
maker? Is it possible to be over-perfect or over-happy? 
I confess a man may overact some parts of religion,, 
and be too much in some particular exercises of it, neg- 
lecting other as necessary duties. But this is not an ex- 
cess of piety, but a defect of discretion. And reason 
would teach us' rather to pardon men's infirmities for 
their pious inclinations, thim to blame piety for their -in- 
firmities. 

Let me therefore entreat you all, especially those 
whose birth and fortunes render them more conspicuous 
in the world, to countenance holiness, which you see is 
so excellent; and beware that you do not contribute to 
that deluge of wickedness that overfloweth the earth, 
by scoffing at the most serious things in the world. 
And, if I obtain this, 1 shall make bold to beg one thing 
more, but it is in your own favours; that you would also 
abandon eve^ry kind of impiety in your own practice, 
since in it every vile ruffian may vie and contend with 
yon. In other cases you forsake modes and customs 
when they becom^ common. Wickedness is now the 



94 THE IlTDISPXNtABLE DTTT7 

most vnlgar and ordinary thing in the world. Shifi, I 
beseech you, the fashion, and embrace piety and virtue; 
wherein none but excellent persons shall rival yon. ^ 
Learn to adore yoor nature: and think it not below you 
to stand in awe of him who can rend the heavens, and 
make the foundations of the earth shake; who needs 
bnt to withdraw his mercies to make yon miserable, or 
his assistance to reduce you to nothing. Study to en* 
noble your souls with solid knowledge and true wisdom; 
with an eminent greatness of mind, and contempt of the 
world; a great liberty and freedom of spirit; an undaunt- 
ed magnanimity and courage; and extensive charity and 
goodness; a venerable temper and purity; an amiable 
meekness and humility; so shall you render yourselves 
honourable, and more excellent than your neighbours in 
this world; and be partakers of immortal honour and 
glory in the world to come. Amen* 



THE INDISPENSABLE DUTT OF LOVING OUR 
ENEMIES. 



LUKE VL 27. 
£ut I Mty unto you which heart love your enemies. 
While we travel through the wilderness of this 
world, much of the comfort of our pilgrimage depends 
on the good correspondence, and mutual services and 
endearments of our fellow-travellers. Therefore, our 
blessed Saviour, whose precepts are all intended for our 
perfection and felicity, fitted to procure to us both th^ 

good things of this world, and that which is to come, 
as taken especial care to join and unite the minds of 
men in the strictest bonds of friendship and love. He 
hath been at great pains by his precepts and by his ex- 
ample, by earnest persuasions and powerful motives, 
to smooth our rugged humours, and calm our passions. 



or LOVING OTTR SlTSMIEf. 95 

and take ofF tharongfaness and asperity from oarnatares* 
iKrhich hinders ns from joining and cementing together. ' 
Now, were we to converse with none but such as are 
Christians in eamgst, we should find it no hard matter 
to live in concord and love; we should meet with no oo- 
csasion of quarrel and contention; and should only be 
obliged to love our friends, because ail men would be 
sach. But well did our Saviour know, that his part 
ivas to be small in the world; that many would oppose 
the profession, and many more would neglect the prao- 
tice of that religion wMch he taught; and that his fol- 
lowers, besides common injuries incident to others, 
y^ere to meet with much enmity and hatred for their 
Master's sake; and therefore, that, amidst all these 
storms, they might maintain that constant serene tnuv- 
quillity, that amiable sweetness and benignity of spirit, 
witlioul winch they could neither be like him, nor hap* 
py in themselves, he was pleased to enjoin such an ar- 
dent affection and charity towards all men, as no ne- 
glect can cool, no injury can extinguish. To love those 
>vfao have obliged iis, is that which nature might teach, 
and wicked men practice; to favour those who have 
never wronged us, is but a piece of common humanity: 
but our religion requires us to extend our kindness even 
ysb those who have injured and abused us, and who con- 
tinue to do and wish us mischief; and that we never 
design any other revenge against our most bitter and in- 
Teterate enemies, than to wish them well, and do them 
all the good wex»m, whether they will or not: for unto 
those that hear lum our Saviour saith, love your ene- 
mies. 

But, alas! how little is this minded by the greater 
part of those who call themselves Christians. Other 
precepts are Iwoken and slighted, but this is industriously 
bafSed and discredited by us. In other cases we ack- 
nowledge our fault, but study to qualify and excuse it 
by the/railty of our nature, or violence of a temptation: 
(we are all sinners; it is a fault indeed, but who can 
help it?) Now^ though these excuses, God knows, are 
very frivolous, and will be of no force in the great day 



99 TRfi iiri>ispsir8ABi.s dtttt 

of oar accounts; yet they imply somethmg of modasty 
and ingenuous acknowledgement, and men may repent 
and fonake what they already condemn. But in the 
instance of loving enemies, and pardoning offences, 
many are so bold and impudent, that, instead of obey- 
ing, they quarrel with the law as impossible and unjust; 
pawing sentence upon that by which themselves must 
be juried. How unreasonable is it (say they) that we 
should love those that hate us? What congruity be- 
tween that act and those objects! ' Can cold snow pro- 
duce heat, or enmity beget affection? Must we be in- 
sensible of the injuries we meet with, or reward him 
that offers them? Must we dissolve the principles of 
our nature, and cease to be men, that we may become 
Christians? These, and such like, are either the ex- 
pressions or thoughts of too many among us! and either 
Christ must come down in his often, and remit some- 
what of the rigour of his laws, or else all the promises 
of the gospel, all the pleasures of the other world, shall 
not engage them to his obedience. Tl\ey will rather 
choose to bum in eterQat flames of fuiy and discord, 
than live at peace with those that have wronged them. 

It can therefore never be unseasonable to press a duty 
so very necessary, yet so much neglected. The text I 
have chosen for this purpose is very plain and cldar: — 
Love your enemies. But, because many do strain the 
precept to some such sense as may suit with their own 
practice, we shall first search into the inmortance of it» 
and then persuade you to perform it. The full mean- 
ing and importance of the precept wiU appear, if we 
consider, first. Who they are whom we are commanded 
to love; and secondly. Wherein the love we owe them 
ddes consist 

The persons whom we are commanded to love, are 
called our enemies. And lest we should ^Ristake them» 
they are clearly described in the following words: — ^The 
fountain of their enmity is within. They are those who 
hate us; who envy our happiness, who wish our misery, 
and abhor our persons and society. But, were this five 
kept within their breast, it might well scorch thems^vet. 



OF LOVING OUR EKEMIXf. 97 

It could not prejudice os: bat out of the abmidance of the 
heart the month speaketh; their malice does sharpen their 
tougues. They are farther described as those that curse 
us; they vent their wrath in oaths and imprecations, 
secret calumnies, and op^ reproaches. Nor are their 
hands always bound up; they use us despitefuJIy, and 
procure us mischief. Now, if our love must be extend- 
ed to all these, we shall hardly find any whom we dare 
safely exclude. Of our private enemies there can be no 
question. But what shall be said of th^ enemies of our 
country, I see no warrant to exclude them from our 
charity. We may indeed lawfully oppose their violent 
invasion, and defend our rights with the sword, under 
the banner of the public magistrate, to whom such au- 
thority is committed: but all this may be done with a» 
little malice and hatred as a judge may punish a noale- 
factor; the general may be as void of passion as the 
lord cluef justice; and the soldier, as the executioner. 
But charity will oblige a prince never to have recourse 
to the sword, till all other remedies fail; to blunt the 
edge of war, by sparing as much as may be the shedding 
of innocent blood, with all other barbarities that use to 
accompany it; and to accept of any reasonable capitula- 
tion. 

We come next to the enemies of our religion: and in- 
deed there are many who are so far from thinking them 
to be among the number of those whom they are obliged 
to love, that they look upon it as a part of their duty to 
hate and malign them. Their zeal is continually vent- 
ing itself in fierce invectives against Antichrist, and eve- 
ry thing they are pleased to call antichristian; and they 
are ready to apply all the prophecies and imprecations 
of tho Old Testament, in their very prayers, against 
those that differ from them. And ordinarily the ani- 
mosities are greatest where the differences are least; and 
one party of a refonned church shall be more incensed 
against another, than either against the superstition and 
tyranny of Rome, or the cj^mality of the Mahometan 
faith. Yea, perhaps you may find some who agree in 
opinion, and only differ in several ways of expressing 



98 THS XNDISPKNSABI^IS DUTY 

ihe same thing» and yet can scarce look on one another 
withont diq>leasare and aversion. But, alas! how much 
do these men disparage that religion for which they ap- 
pear •so zealous, now much do they mistake .the spirit of 
Christianity! Are the persons "whom they hate, greater 
enemies to religion, than those who persecuted the 
apostles and martyrs for professing it? And yet these 
were the persons whom our Saviour commanded his dis- 
ciples to love: mid himself did pray for those that cru- 
cified him; and jbverely checked the disciples, when, by 
a precedent brought from the Old Testament, they 
would have called for fire from heaven on those who 
would not receive them; telling them. They knew not 
what spirit they were of: i. e. They did not consider 
by what spirit they were prompted to such cruel incli- 
nations; or, as others explain it, they did not yet suffi- 
ciently understand the temper and senius of Christianity ; 
which is pure and peaceable, gentle and meek: full of 
sweetness, and full of love. If men would- impartially 
examine their hatred and animosity against the enemies 
of their relision, I fear they would find them proceed 
from a pinciple which themselves would not willingly' 
Own. Pride and self-conceit will make a man disdain 
th^e of a different persuasion; and think it a disparage- 
ment to his judgment, that any should differ from it.^ 
Mere nature and self-love will make a man hate those 
who oppose the interest and advancement' of that party 
wihich himself has espoused. Hence men are many 
times more displeased at some small mistakes iu Judg- 
ment, than the greatest immoralities in practice! yea, 
perhaps, they will find a secret pleasure, and wicked 
satisfaction, in hearing or reporting the faults or scandal 
of their adversaries. Certainly the power of religion 
rightly prevailing in the soul, would mould us into anoth- 
er temper: it would teach us to love and pity, and pray 
for the person, as well as hate ana condemn the errors 
they are supposed to espouse: it would make us wish 
their conversion rather than their confusion; and be more 
desirous that God would fit them for another world, 
than that he- wotUd take them out of this. We may iu- 



OF X.OVING OVA ENEMIES. 99 

docd wi-h the duappointment of their wicked purposes; 
for this is charity to them, to keep them from heing the 
unhappy iiistruraente of mischief in the world: but he 
that can wish plagues and ruin to their persons, and de- 
lights in their sins, or in their misery, hath more of the 
devil than the christian. 

Thus yon have seen who those enemies are to whom 
our charity must be extended. It follows to be consid- 
ered, what is the nature of the love we owe them. I 
shall not now spend your time in any nice or curious 
^^peculations about the nature of this mnster-passion. It 
is the prime affection of the soul, wliich gives measured, 
and sets bounds to all the rest; every man's hatred, grief, 
and joy, depending upon, and flowing from his love. 
1' shall now only obrierve to you, that there is a sensible 
kind of loye, a certain teuderhess and melting afKsction 
implfinted in us by nature towards our nearest relations, 
on purpose to engage us to those peculiar services we 
owe them; and there is an intimacy and delightful union 
tietween friends, aruHog from some especial sympathy of 
humoars, and referring to the maintenance of such cor- 
respondenees. Those are not always at our command; 
nor are we obliged to love either strangers or enemies at 
this rate. It is not to be expected, that at first sight of 
a person, who hath nothing singularly taking, we shoald 
find such a special kindness and tenderness arising for 
him in our hearts; much leas can fondness and passionate 
affection proceed from the sense of any harm received 
from him. The command in the text does not amount 
to this, ( though there he a great advantage in a tender 
and affectionate dispo-iiition, both to secure and fucilibito 
our duty ;) but we are certainly obliged to such a .'•iiicere- 
and cordial good-will to all men, as will incline us to 
perform a)l the good offices we cnn, even to those who 
have offended us. But the nature and measuras of this 
love will more fully appear, if we consider what it does 
exclude, and what it does imply. 

Firet, then, it excludes all harsh thoughts and ground- 
less suspicions. The Appstle telleth us, that charity 
thinketh no evil; that it hopeth all things, believeth all 



100 THK INSI8PXNBABLK DUTY 

thiii|;8. To entertain, with pleasure, every b)id report 
of those who have offended us, and to pat the worst 
construction on their doubtful actions, is both a clear 
evidence of our hatred, and an nnhappy method to con- 
tinue it Were once the love we recommend seated in 
the soul, it would soon cast out those restless jealousies, 
sour suspicions, harsh surmises, and imbittered thoughts; 
and display itself in a more candid and gentle disposi- 
tion; in fair glosses, and friendly censures; in a favour- 
able extenuatioAf greater faults, and covering of lesser. 
It would make a . man interpret all things in the best 
meaning they are capable of; and choose rather to be 
mistaken to his own prejudice, by a too favourable 
opinion, than to his neighbour's, by a groundless jeal- 
ousy. And even in this sense it may be, that charity 
covereth a multitude of sins. 

Again, the love which we owe to enemies, excludes 
all causeless and immoderate anger: It suifereth long, 
and is not easily provoked; endureth all things. Our 
Saviour tells us, that whoso is angry with his brother , 
without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; 
and if his anger exceed the cause he is equally guilty. 
All anger is not vicious; we may be an^, and not sin. 
This passion, as all othere implanted m us by God, is 
innocent when kept within its due bounds: it has its 
proper office in the mind, as the spleen in the body; but 
its excess and distemper swells into a disease. To 
make it allowable, it must not exceed the value of the 
cause', nor the proportion of the circumstances. It 
must be governed by discretion, and kept within the 
bounds of reason, that it break not forth into indecent 
expressions, or violent ' and blamable actions. And- 
further, it must not be too peripanent and lasting; we 
must not let the sun set upon our anger. Plutarch tells 
us, that the Pythagoreans were careful to observe the 
very letter of this precept: for if anger had boiled up to 
the height of an injury or reproach, before sunsQt they 
would salute each other, and renew their friendship; 
they were ashamed that the same anger which had dis- 
tttrb«d the counsels of the day, should also trouble the 



OF LOVING OUR KNEMIXA. 101 

tjtiiet and repose of the nigbt, lest, mingiiog with their 
rest and dreams, it should become prevalent and iuibitii^ 
al in them. And snre, we owe an infinitely greater 
deference to the precepts of our blessed Saviour, and hi^ 
holy apostles, than they did to their master's reasoning 
and advices. And though we should not take this pre* 
cept in its strictest and literal signification, yet this we 
must know, that the same passion and resentment which 
was innocent and rational ud its first rise, may become 
vicious and criminal by its continuance. Anger may 
kindle in the breast of a wise man, but rests only in the 
bosom of a fool. And this will lead us to a third thing 
which the precept in our text does condenm. 

The love of enemies here commanded, does exclude 
all rooted malice and rancour, proceec|ing from the 
memory and resentment of injuries, after the prejudice 
and harm sustained by them is over. Certainly there is 
nothing more contrary to charity than a peevish rumina^ 
ting and poring on the offences we have met with; and 
their memories are very ill employed, who seldom re« 
member a courtesy, or foi^et a wrong. It is ordinary 
for some who dare not pro^ss intentions of revenge, to 
express their resentment in some such threatening as this: 
That they will forgive the injury, but never fofget it. 
I hope' they do not mean, they will pass it at this time, 
and revenge it afterward. This would but make the sin 
the greater, by being more deliberate. Is it then that 
they intend them no harm, but will cease to do them 
good? This is a lame and imperfect charity; expressly 
contradictory to the precept in the text, enjoining us to 
bless them that corse us, to do good to them that lute us, 
and to pray for them that despitefnily use us. Nor roust 
we expect the blessing of God, if Uiis be all we allow ■ 
to others; for with what measure we mete, it shall be 
measured to us again. There is but one way we may 
lawfully remember an injury; and that is so as to be 
more cautious in trusting one who hath deceived us, or 
exposing ourselves to the power of him who hath wrong- 
ed us. In this case religion dooA allow and direct us to 
join the serpent's wisdom witli^tho dove's innocency. 



102 THE INDISPENSABLB^DUTY 

Bnt then, I am sore, it is neither neceMary nor fit to 
threaten those who have wronged lu, with ovr resola* 
tions to remember the injury. We may be as cautioos 
as we please without it; and these threats do nothing 
but rankle and displease our adversary, which ought to 
be no part of a Christian's design. A meek and char- 
itable person will be loth to have his memory infested, 
i and his thoughts soured with resentment of wrongs; and 
if they occur to his mind, he will make no other use of 
them than to put himself on his guard; unless from 
thence he take occasion to benefit and oblige the person 
who has offended him, and, as our text expressly directs, 
to do him good, to bless and pray for him. 

Again, this precept does exclude and prohibit the 
taking or procuring any revenge. By revenge, we mean 
such a simple evil done to our adversary, as does bring 
no real benefit or reputation to ourselves. For certainly 
it is not unlawful to seek the reparation of our own 
right by an authorised judge, nor yet to provide for the 
public security by the punishment of offenders, unless 
some special cu^umstance makes it so. This may many 
times be done without prejudice or hatred, yea, with 
great kindness and compassion towards the person of the 
offender. But, if we have any charity or love to our 
adversaries, we shall bo really afflicted with the evils 
that befalls them^ and therefore will never willingly pro- 
cure ourselves that trouble by infficting it on them. It 
b evidence of a. wicked and malicious humour, to please 
ounelves in the'misery of another, or delight in an evil 
that brings us no good. Whatever latitude the Jews 
either had or pretended to, it is not lawful for us to de- 
sire eye for eye, or tooth for tooth, unless we could say, 
that his eye would serve our head, or his hand fit our 
arm, or lus pain allay our torment, which he had pro- 
cured to us. 

From hence we may judge what is to be thought of 
those who are ready to revenge the smallest injury, even 
an uncivil expression, with the death of the offender; 
never being satisfied till they have ventured two lives, 
and as many souls, in the combat; a thing wliich should ' 



or LoriKG OUR enemiss. 108 

not be named among Christians, but with the same de- 
testation we have against the vilest actions; for wnkver 
colonis of bravery or gallantry it may be painted with, 
it is really nothing else than a more specious and formal 
kind of murder. Nor does it differ from the basest 
assassination, save only in this, with the wickedness of 
attempting another's life it joins die fashness and folly of 
exposing our own. 

Lastly, the love which we owe our enemies, does ex- 
clude all supercilious and scomifttl contempt and neglect 
of them. Which I .mark the rather, because some 
think they have sufficiently obeyed the precept, if they 
overlook an injury, as thinking the person below their 
revenge. Meanwhile, their corrupt nature relishes as 
much pleasure in the scorn and disdain of their enemies, 
as it could in the revenge of the injury: their wicked hu- 
mours are not starved, but only change their diet. Of . 
this nature was the answer of the philosopher, to some 
who incited and provoked him to revenge, 'If an ass kick 
me, shall I kick him again?' This is but a lame and 
misshapen charity ; it haUi more of pride than goodness. 
We should learn of the holy Jesus, who was not only 
meek, but lowlyi We should contenm the injury, and 
pity the weakness, but should not disdain or despise the 
persons of our enemies. Charity vaunteth not herself, 
is not puffed up, doth not behave herself unseemly. 

Having thus discovered those things which are incon- 
sistent with charity, and excluded by the love of ene- 
mies, it remains that we show what it does import and 
require. 

First, then, it imports an inward kindness and affec- 
tion; which, if it does not amount to that passionate 
tenderness which we have for our near relations and in- 
timate friends, yet it implies a good will towards them, 
and friendly concernment in their interest. If we love 
an enemy, we shall wish his welfare, and rejoice in it, 
and be unfeignedly sorry for any disaster that befalls 
him; so far shall we be from rejoicing in his misfortunes. 
And certainly had we a right sense of things, we should 
be more troubled for the harm which our enemy does to 



104 THE I2rDISPENSABI.E DUTY 

his omn son! by wronging us, than for the prejudice we 
8ust^ by him: our compassion towards him would di- 
minish, if not altogether swallow np the resentment of 
what we sufl«r from him. ■ 

' But our kindncflH and good will towards our enemies 
must not rest in empty wishes, but express itself in kind 
words and friendly actions. When we speak to our 
enemy, it must be in such Smooth, discreet, and oblig- 
ing terms, as are most like to mollify and gain him, that 
by soft answers we may turn away his wrath, and shun 
all grievous words, which stir up anger. When we 
speaik of him, it should be as advantageously as we cdn 
with truth, concealing or qualifying his faults, and prais- 
ing whatever is good in him. And sure hovmust bo sin- 
gularly bad in whom we can find nothing to commend. 
Again, we must perform for them all Uiose good offi- 
ces which their necessities call for, 'and our power can 
reach. Do good to them that hate yon. If our enemy 
hanger, we must feed him; if he thirst,vwe must give 
him drink; so shall we heap coals of fire upon his head, 
to mollify his obdurate temper, and overcome his evil 
by our good; but not to aggravate his guilt and punish- 
ment, as some mistake the words: for though that be 
many timeb the issue, yet ought it not to be any part of 
our design. 

Lastly, because all that we can do for the good of 
enemies, signifies little, we must employ our interest in 
the court of heaven in their behalf, begging of God. that 
he would turn their hearts to himself and to us, and bless 
them with the pardon of all their sins, particularly the 
wrongs they have .done to ourselves, and with all things 
necessary for their present welfare, or future happiness. 
Pray for them that despitefally use you. And this 19 
the surest evidence of our charity to them. MUd words 
may be designed as a snare to entrap them, and courtesy 
may be done them to serve our vanity, or a generous 
kind of pride; which may mak6 us delight to have our 
enemy indebted to us, as knowing that'it is more glori- 
ous in the eyes of the world to raise a fallen adversary 
than to trample on him. But it must be only obedience 



OF LOVXNO OUR ENEMIES. 103 

to God's commands, and sincere . lovo to our enemy, 
which can make us take him into our closet, aJld into 
our heart; to share our prayers with him, and make him 
partake of the fruits of o«r devotion; and to have that 
same concernment for his interests as for onr own, at 
once recommending them both to our heavenly Father. 
.By this time I hope yon rniderstand the importance 
of this precept of our Saviour, Love your enemies: it 
remains, that we exhort you to the performance. And 
I shall begin with an argument, which may be of force 
to give the first assault to our rebellious inclinations, and 
m<£e way for further and more nuld persuasions, and it 
shall be the indispensable necessity of the duty. Wb 
must not look upon this as a matter which we may do 
or omit at pleasure; nor yet as a counsel of perfection, 
highly commendable, but not absolutely necessary to 
salvation. It is as indispensably required as any other 
duty of our religion; aiid he who resolves not to obey 
in this instance, may renounce his baptism, and abandon 
Christianity. None can esdape the obligation of the 
precept, unless he be so rarely happy as to have no en- 
emies; nor must any think to redeem themselves from 
this by some other performance. Let our opinions be 
never so orthodox, and our zeal in maintaining them nev- 
er so fervent; let our prayers be never so frequent and alt 
our discourses ravishing; let our other attainments be nev- 
er so great, and our confidence of our salvation never 
so strong; yet, if we refuse to obey this precept, we are 
none of Christ's disciples; or, in thewoids of tlfe Apos- 
tie, we may say. Though I speak with the tongues of men . 
and angels; though I have the gift of prophecy, and un- 
'derstand all mysteries, and all knovirledge; and though I 
bestow all my goods to feed the poor; yea, although I 
give my body to be burned, and have not this charity and 
love, even to mine enemies, it profiteth me nothing. 
And our Saviour himself tells us in express terms, that 
unless we forgive others their trespasses, neither will 
God foigive us cure. - Yea, he hath taught us to pray for 
pardon,' in such terms as imports a dreadful curse upon 
oniBelveSy if we are malicious and revengeful, while we 



106 THE INDI8PENSABLB DUTY 

beg God would pardon ns in the same manner tliat vre 
partfti those who sin against us; subscribing, as it were, 
with oar own hands, and confining oat of our own 
mouths, that sentence which shall be pronounced 
against us; for even so will God forgive us, i. e. he 
will take vengeance on us, if we have dealt so with oth- 
ers. And as those who do not love' their enemies, do 
beg their own condemnation in prayer; so also they eat 
and drink it in the holy sacrament. And men are com- 
monly bo far convinced of this, that many choose to keep 
back from the table of the Lord, that, they may more free- 
ly entertain their animosities. But, alas! what a folly and 
madness this is! Think they to excuse a sin by the neg- 
lect of a duty? Or can they put off death, as they do the 
participation of the sacrament? Or can they hope to be 
admitted into the eternal enjoyment of God, if they should 
die in that malice, which renders them unfit to approach 
unto him in that holy ordinance? Do not deceive your- 
selves: never shall any enter^into those blessed mansioiiSy 
those regions of peace and love, whose heart is not first in- 
spired with charity, and softened into a compliance with 
this very precept. And it were as absurd, to think that a 
man may be malicious and revengeful all his days, and yet 
go to heaven, there to learn meekness and charity, as to 
think that a man may be luxurious and dishonest in thiH 
world, and become temperate, an4 honest, and happy in 
the other. In a word, whatever shifts we may make to 
deceive ourselves, the command is clear and express, 
the sanction severe and peremptory; we have but our 
choice of these two, love of enemies, or damnation. 

Nor can this seem unreasonable to any who considers, ' 
that God is the author of our natures, tiie creator of all 
our faculties may justly rule our inclinations, and dispose 
of our love and affection: and yet he is content (if I may 
so speak) to bargain with us, and to buy off our natural, 
or rather wicked resentments; offeriitg us his own mer- 
cy and favour, freedom from hell, and everlasting hap- 
piness, on this, amongst other conditions', that we love 
our enemies. 

Nay, further, the duty in its^f is so reasonable, that 



OF LOVING OVWL ENEMIES. 107 

the more sober of the Heathens, who h.'id nothing above 
reason to teach them, tiave acknowledged it, ^not as 
necessary, yet as highly becoming, and an eminent in- 
stance of a virtuoas and generous mind. Plato conltl 
say. That injnry is by no means to be done, nor to be 
repaid to him that has done it. Aqd when a malicious 
person said to Zeno, i^et me perish, if I don't do yon 
a mischief; his answer was. Let me perish if 1 don*t 
reconcile thee to me. Antoninus tells us frequently. 
That all reasonable creatores are born for one another; 
and that it is the part of justice to bear with others: 
That it is through ignorance they offend vs, as not 
knowing the right way to their own happiness; and 
therefore we should rather instruct them better tlian 
hate them: That the best kind of revenge is, not to be- 
come like them in wickedness and malice. And many 
other excellent arguments does that royal philosopher 
bnng to the same purpose. And Plutarch givoMi this as 
one of the reasons why God is so slow in punishing 
wicked persons, that we may learn meekness and pa- 
tience by his example, adding that excellent observation. 
That our greatest happiness and perfection consists in 
the imitation of our maker. 

But to leave the testimonies of heathens, the obliga- 
tion of this precept of loving our enemies may bo 
deduced from another, which every man will acknowl- 
edge to be higlily reasonable, the doing to others what 
we would have done to ourselves. Every one of us 
desires to be loved and cherished by others; to have our 
fiiults pardoned, our failings overlooked, and our neces- 
sities supplied. Or, if any be so haughty and stubborn, 
that they disdain a courtesy from an enemy ; yet I hope 
there is none so mad, but he desires the favour of God; 
whose hatred he deserves infinitely more, than his most 
bitter enemy can deserve his. How then can we think 
it unreasonable, to allow that to others, which ourselves 
expect and desire? Can we look that our master should 
forgive us ten thousand talents, if we take our fellow- 
servant by the throat, and hale him into prison for one 
hundred pence? Or with vvliat confidence can we say. 



1<V8 YBS »^DISPEN8ABI«E DITTT 

pardon our sins, unless we bo willing to add, that we par- 
don those who sin against ns? Certainly, if it be rea* 
sonable to seek pardon, it is just and equal to give it; and 
nothing hat blind selfishness, and extravagant partiality, 
can teach us to make so unreasonable a difference be- 
tween ourseWes and othere. 

Again, the reasonableness of this duty will farther 
appear, if we compare it with that malice and revenge 
which it does oppose. Can there be any thing more 
against natural reason, than to delight in an evil which 
can bring no benefit to ns? Yet tSs is the very nature 
and essence of revenge: for, if the damage we sustain 
can be repaired, it is no revenge to seek it; and, if it 
cannot, it does no way alleviate th& evil of the accident, 
that we draw him that caused it into as great a miseiy; 
nay, unless we are unnatural, and without bowels, it 
will augment our trouble to see any evil befall liim. 
And he is a miserable penson indeed, whose delightis 
in mischief, whose good is the evil of hi« neighbour. 
Yea, I may say, that he who returns an injury, is many 
times more unreasonable than he who offered it: for he 
who first wrongs another, hath commonly some tempta- ■ 
tion of advantage by it; which revenge cannot pretend 
^ to. But if he has done it out of mere malice, yet he is 
not worse than the other who returns it; there being as 
much fantastic pleasure in spite, as in revenge: both are 
alike miserable and extravagant 

And who are they against whom we bend our malice 
and revenge? Are they not men, partakers of the same 
nature, descended from the same stock with ourselves, 
fellow-citizens with us in this world, and with whom we 
should hope to live forever in a better? and should we not 
bear mudi with those who are so nearly related to us? 
Nay more, they are the workmanship of God's hands, 
and for any thing we know, either are, or may become 
his children and friends: and dare we pretend any love 
to God, if we do not spare them for his sake? And 
lastly, if they have done us any real wrong, they are in 
80 far foolish, and destitute of reason: and who would 
quarrel with a madman? Certainly an injurious person 



OF LOVIITG OVn fiiri^MtStf.. 1<M 

knows not what he is doing, for he can never would his 
neighbour bat through hiB own sides, nor prt^udiee anotb* 
er in a trifling interest, Without hazarding his own eter^ 
nal concernment; and therefore he deserves our pity' 
rather than our hatred. 

Much more might be brought to demor^rtrate tho 
reasonableness of what our Sbviour calls for in ihe 
text: but I hope wh<'it has been already said may suffice 
to stop the mouths of malicious and revengeful men, 
who are ready to quarrel with it. And, if this or any 
other dufy seem absurd or unreasonable to us, we may 
learn the cause from the apostle. The cama} man re^ 
ceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are 
foolishness unto him. It is the carnality of our heart 
that makes it seem so: and therefore, instead of dispsC* 
ing the duty, let us endeavour to purify our souls, and 
open the eyes of our mind; and we shaU find it to bd 
true, which wisdom said of her doctrines. They are all 
plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that 
find knowledge. 

But, in the third place, the love of eneniies is not 
only necessary and reasonable, but also amiable and 
delightful; it tuis a great deal of pleasure and sweetaesa 
in it Of this, I confess, the greater evidence must be 
had from the experience and practice of it; the nature 
even of earthly pleasures being such, that only the en- 
joyment can make a man know them. But though the 
full knowledge herejpf require a nearer aeqaamtanee, 
yet even those who look at a distance may perceive 
something of amiableness in it, especially comparing it 
with the trouble and uneasiness of that vice it would 
deliver us from. Malice and revenge are the moA 
restless and tormenting passions that can possess the 
mind; they keep it in continual hurry and disorder; 
they gnaw a man's heart with anguish and vexation, 
and imbitterali his enjoymente; they maf the plea»- 
nres of the day, and interrupt the repibse of the night. 
Solomon describes these men. They sleep not except 
they have done mischief; ond their sleep i^ taken away 
except they cause some to fall. 
10 



110 THE IKOISPENSABLE DUTY 

. On the other hand, the meek and peaceable man» 
whose mind is brought to a compliance with this pre- 
cept, is alcove the malice of his enemies. It is not in 
their power to vex him. Amidst all the assaults of in- 
juries and affix)nts, he is firm as a rock, which no winds 
can shake; no waves remove. He is happy in the 
cahnness and serenity of his spirit; and is sure either to 
convert or shame his adversary by his patience and 
friendly behaviour. And then the consciousness of 
performing his duty, and assurance of future reward, 
afford him infinitely more pure and solid pleasure and 
delight, than any can expect by indulging and gratify- 
ing their vengeitil humour. 

The advantages of this duty will more clearly ap- 
pear, when we take a view of those prejudices which 
commonly. are entertained against it; which shall be 
our next work. 

First, then, some cry out upon this precept as enjoin- 
ing impossibilities: doing violence to the very constitu- 
tion of nature, and obliging men to a debt that no man 
is able to pay. They will tell you that it is as easy to 
hate ourselves, as to love our enemies; to love pain, as 
4o bear an injury meekly: flesh and blood cannot endure 
it. What arrogance and presumption is this, thus to 
impeach the divine laws. It is impossible; therefore 
God should not have commanded it. Such is their 
reasoning. Were it not far more rational to argue 
thus: It is indispensably commanded, therefore it must 
needs be possible. And so it has been to all good men 
that ever lived; and so it will be, by God's assistance, to 
all that make it their study. Flesh and blood cannot 
do it. True enough; but then take this into the ao- 
eoont. Flesh and blood shall never enter into the king- 
dom of heaven. It is indeed agninst the propension of 
our corrupt nature; b^ut it is the work of Christians to 
mortify their corruptions. And if we think it impossi- 
ble, at the command of God, and for the purchase pf 
heaven, to love an enemy, and pardon an injury, how 
would we bear those hard trials which Christians have 
sufiercd by the cruelty of persecutors? Whether it is 



OF LOVtlTG OUR JEN£MI£B. Ill 

easier to snflTer a wrong, or to give oar body to He- burn- 
ed? Certainly, when wc have obeyed thii precept, we 
have not yet resisted unto blood; and therefore that 
obedience can never be imposBible, since harder things 
may be expected from us. Therefore seriously set 
about the work, and endeavour to bring your minds to 
a compliance with it; and then your own experience 
shall confute these idle pretences, and evince the possi- 
bility of the performance. 

Another prejudice against this precept, is. That it 
seems to encour&ge injuries, by hopes of impunity and 
reward; giving the delinquent occasion to expect kind* 
ness and love, instead of the punishment which he de« 
serves; and so we should draw upon ourselves a second 
injury by not requiting the firsL 

But we have already told you, that this precept does 
not forbid the exercise of justice by those to whom the 
sword is committed, when the public security calls for 
it. As a parent may at once love and correct his child, 
so may a judge be in charity with the person hb does 
punish. And though it should be granted, that, by 
pardoning injuries, we do expose ourselves to new ones; 
yet would this amount to no more, but that we may 
suffer hardships by our obedience to God; which I hope 
is not enough to dispense wi^ our duty. But truly the 
matter goes not commonly thus: for if we consult either 
our own observation, or the experience of others, we 
shall find, that meek and charitable persons are most 
seldom exposed to injuries, or engaged in troubles. He 
must needs be a desperately wick^ person, who will 
offer a tecond injury to one who hath requited the first 
with kindness and love. Such a sweet disposition will 
mollify tiie hardest hearts, and charm the most froward ' 
Iramouns; especially if we carry ourselves with such 
prudence and discretion, as may testify that we are ac- 
tuated by a noble and generous charity, and not by a 
stupid insensibility. How ofteo does a soil answer turn 
aWay wrath? and the overlooking of an injury prevent 
farther trouble, throwing water upon the spark bisfore it ' 
break forth into a flame? Hence, if we look u^n meek 



112 THS XNOiePENSABLE BUTT 

and quiet persons, we shall ordinarily find thein appy 
in the peace of their families, and favour and kindness 
of all their neighbours: whereas the angry, quarrelsome, 
and malicious person, is an eyesore to all about him ; 
his neighbours shun him, his setvants dread him, and 
all abhor and avoid him. And therefore the observa- 
tion of this precept of our Lord, is so far from exposing 
US to new injuries, that by the mercy of God it will , 
prove the best means to secure our tranquillity. Peace 
shall be the reward of a peaceable temper. 
' But, lastly, some will tell us, that the love of ene-* 
mies and pardoning injuries, i» inconsktent with the 
principies of honour; and will expose us to contempt 
and derision. But, alas! to what a sad pass are we 
come, if neither reason nor religion may prescribe the 
rules of honour; if our notions of it must be taken from 
the language of the sons of Belial, of strife and violence; 
if to imitate the Deity in his most glorious attribute of 
mercy and forgiveness, and become perfect as our Fath- 
C|r which is in heaven is perfect, be accounted a base 
and dishonourable thing; and if from this vain,, imagina- 
ry, fantastic shadow of reputation, we will violate all 
laws, human and divine, and forfeit eternal happiness. 
But who are they that will think the worse of you for 
your patience? Some vain empty fools, some profane 
atheistical wretches, whose judgments are not valuable, 
nor their praise worth the having. Or what can they 
say of you, but that you are meek and lowly, imitators 
of that blessed master whom we profe^ to serve? And 
why do we own the name of Christians, if we be asham- 
ed of the spirit and life of Christianity? Why do we no^t 
call ourselves after the name of Cain, Nimrod, or som& 
other angry and revengeful destroyer, if we esteem those 
qualities more glorious and excellent? But if we have 
any deference for so wise a man and great a king as Solo- 
mon, he will tell us, thaJt it is the honour of a man to 
cease from strife; and that he that is slow to ang&e is 
better than the mighty; and he who ruleth his fc;pirit, 
better than he who taketh a city. 
Thus you see hotv unreasonable those prejudices tun^ 



OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES. 113 

which keep men from the practice of this necessary dnty. 
It remains now, that we hint at some helps for the per- 
formance of it. 

The heathens were pretty ingcnioas in devising mo- 
tives of patience. They wonid tell ns, that if we were 
newly offended, it was too soon tp resent it; if long time' 
since, it was too late. If the offender be lob strong for 
ns, it were folly to contend ; if ho were too weal, it 
were a shame. Are we ofl^nded by a friend, let ns 
remember our old friendship; if by an enemy, let ns do 
him a kindness, and he will do so no more. But chris-' 
tianity will direct us to better means for composing the* 
soul into the meekness and charity which it does re- 
quire. 

The first I shall recommend, is humility. Let ns 
learn to have low thoughts of ourselves; and then we 
shall have both fewer enemies, and be more inclined <4) 
love them. Pride and selfconceit makes us overrate) 
every petty injury, and inclines us to revenge: but if we 
consider what poor contemptible things we are in our- 
selves, and wfafit we have deserved, if not from men, 
yet from God, whose instruments they are for our cor- 
rection, we shall be little concerned at what the world' 
calls af&onts, and easily reconciled to those who have 
wronged us. 

Secondly, let us learn to have a low esteem of the 
present world, and all things therein; and this will cut 
off the occasions of our hatred and animosities. Men 
may wrong us in our fortune or reputation, but they 
cannot rob us of piety and virtue, of the favour of God, 
and eternal happiness. And therefore, if our minds be 
once raised above those transitory 'vanities, we^ cannot 
meet with injuries worth the resenting. If we aim at 
heaven, and the glory of another world, we shall not 
stand to quarrel and contend about any trifling interest 
ih our way thither. 

Thirdly, the frequent and serious thoughts of death, 

would conduce much to allay our hatred, and dispose us* 

to meekness and charity. Naturalists tell us, that when 

swarms of bees fight in the air, they are dispersod by 

10* 



• li4 THE INDI8PSNSABLS DUTY 

tlirowiii| dost among them. Did we in our thoogfats 
often reflect apon that dust whereunto we must all short* 
ly return, we should more easily lay down our quarrels, 
And aniroos^ies. While we contend about small things, 
little do we consider that death is coming on apaee, and 
will swallow up the victor and the vanquished; him that 
is in the right^ and him that is in the wrong. Look 
back upon the private contentions, or public commo- 
tions, which infested the world an hundred years ago. 
Where are they who managed them? They are all gone 
down into the dark and silent grave. Death hath decid- 
ed their controversies, and wjtliin a few days it will do 
80 with ours, and send us all to plead our cause before 
our great judge; and it will go ill with us, if we appear' 
there in malice. Therefore^ why should our hatred be 
long, since our life is' so short? One would think we 
should find better employment for the short time we 
have to spend here. 

But, lastly, and above all, let ns propose to ourselves 
the blessed example of the holy Jesus, who, when he 
was reviled, revjjed not again; when he suifered, he 
threatened not; but committed himself to him that judg- 
eth righteously. 

Let OS frequently remember what great things he 
hath done and suffered for us poor sinful wretches; even 
while we were enemies and rebels to him; how that in 
all the passages of his life, and all the bloody scene of 
his sufferings, he was actuated by that same charity and 
love to his enemies which he calls for at our liands. 
It was thb which moved him to descend from heaven, 
and dothe himself with the frailties of our nature, and 
endure the troubles of a calamitous life, and the pains 
of a bitter death, to deliver us from that eternal misery 
whereipto we had plunged ourselves. And may not his 
goodness and mercy to us, mollify our hearts, and over- 
power the corruption of our revengeful nature, and in- 
spire OS with earnest desires and resolutions to imitate 
lus blessed example? After all that he hath done and 
suffered for us, can we be guilty of such a shameful in- 
gralitilde as to deny hia;i this poor satisfaction and ac- 



OF Z^OTIKG OUft SNEMISB. lift 

I 

knowle^ement, to pardon an enemy for his sake? Has 
be died lor ns when we were bis enemies, and shall we 
- relvlie to live at peaee.with ours? Remember with what 
patience he endured the contradiction of sinners against 
himself; with what hamility he did condescend to wash 
the feet of that wicked miscreant, who was at the samo 
time resolved to betray him; with what mildness he did 
bear the snpine negligence and stupidity of his disciples 
who slept m the time of his agony. What charity and 
meekness did he evidence towards those who songfat Ifis 
life! He could have called for legions of angels to de»> 
troy them, or made the earth to open her moutii and 
swallow them np: bnt he would not employ his mincn- 
lons power, save only for their good, restoring a ser- 
-vant's ear, and reproving the preposterous zeal of him 
who cut it off. Yea, while he hung upon the cross, 
and was approaching to the gates of death, all the cruel 
, pains of body and far more intolerable pressure of spirit 
which he then sustained, did not lessen his wonderful 
tenderness and afi^tion for his bloody murderers: Fath- 
er, forgive them, for they know not what they do. 
Let ns be frequent and serious in the meditation of these 
things. And if we have any veneration for the example 
of our Saviour, and any sense of his infinito mercy, this 
will dispose us to the practice of his precepts, and the 
obedience of his laws; and particularly the observation 
of this necessaiy, this reaaonable, and delightful duty, 
that we love our enemies. 



i 



116 THS NECEflSlTT AND ADVANTAGE 



THE NECESSITY AND ADVANTAGE OF EARLY 
AFFLICTIONS. 



LAM. in. 27, 28. 

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his 
youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, be- 
cause he hath borne it upon him. 
The great difTerence and coDtrariety between the 
maxims of the world, and those which religion doth pro- 
pose, is in nothing more observable than in taking the 
measures of happiness and felicity. The world account- 
eth him a happy man who enjoyeth a perpetual calm and 
sunshine of prosperity ; whose pleasant and joyful days 
are never overcast with any cloud, nor his tranquillity 
interrupted by any disastrous accident; and who was 
never acquainted with any other change, but that which 
brought him the new and fresh relish of succeeding 
pleasures and enjoyments. But religion hath taught us 
to look upon this as a condition full of danger; much 
more to be pitied than envied ; to be feared than to be 
desired. It hath taught us to consider afflictions as in- 
stances of the divine goodneiss, as tokens and pledges 
of his love; (for whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, 
and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth;) and that 
these C(evere dispensations are very necessary, and may 
prove useful and advantageous: Blessed is the man 
(saith the Psalmist) whom thou chasteneth, O Lord, 
&c. : It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that 
I may- learn thy statutes. And the Prophet in the text. 
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 
He was at this time loaded with the heaviest weight of 
trouble ancl sorrow, what f6r the public calamities of 
his nation, and what for his own particular sufferings: 
His eyes were running down with rivers of water, for, 



OP BA&I«T APPI«ICTI09. 117 

the destnictioiis of the danghter of his people; the/ 
trickled down, and ceased not. Jndah was gone into 
captivity becanse^ of affliction: she dwelt among the 
Heathen, and found no rest; all her peraecntora overtook 
her in the straits. The ways of Zion did mourn, be- 
cause none came to the solemn feasts; the yonng and 
the old were lying on the gronnd in the streets; the vir« 
gins and yomig men were fallen by the sword, and the 
few that remained were starving for hunger. The peo^. 
pie did sigh, and seek bread; they gave their pleasant* 
things for meat to relieve their sonl; the children and 
sncldingB did swoon in the streets, their soul was poured 
out into their mother's bosom; the women, did eat their 
frnit, their children of a span long. And the Prophet 
had a large share in these calamities, boUi by his own 
interest, and his compassion towards his neigfabonr: I 
am the man (saith he) that hath seen affliction by the 
rod of his wrath. Smely against me is he tamed; he 
torneth his hand against me 3l the day. 

Bat after he had thus bemoaned himself, and given 
some vent to his passion and sorrow, he pats a stop to 
the canrent that was grown too impetnons, and tarns 
his thooghts another .way. He adraowledgeth the jos- 
tice of God's dispensations; and that it was a fiivonr they 
8a0ered no more: This I recall into my mind, therefore 
have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are 
not consomed, because his compassions fail not They 
are new every morning. Nay, when he had farther 
pondered the matter, he finds himself indebted to the 
goodness of God, even for the afflictions he endured: It 
is |ood for a man, &c. 

The bearing of the yoke is an easy and obvious met* 
aphor, importmg the restraint of liberty, when our de* 
sires are denied, and we have not our wills; cannot 
ramble up and down as we {dease; and also the pressure 
of afflictions which gall and torment us, under which we 
smart and groan. Such is the yoke Which the prophet 
tells as it is good for a man that he bear. A strange 
doctrine indeed to flesh and blood! and O how few do 
bdieve it! We judge of things by their oi^iward appear* 



118 T^S NSCSIBITY AND ADVAN^AGB 

iiBCe, and as they affect us at present, (now no afflic- 
tion or chastening seemeth for the present to be joyous, 
but grievous;) and we cannot persuade ourselves that 
there is any good in that which we feel to be troublesome 
and unpleasant But, if we consult our reason and our 
faith, they will soon bring us to the acknowledgement of 
this truth. That affliction cometh not forth of the dust, 
neither doth trouble spring out of the ground. The 
•crosses we meet with, are not the effects of blind chance; 
but the results of a wise and unerring providence, which 
knoweth what is fittest for us, and loveth us better than 
we can do ourselves* There i.) no malice or envy lodg- 
ed in the bosom of that blessed being, whose name and 
nature is love. He taketh no delight in the troubles 
and miseries of his creatures: He doth not afflict willing- 
ly, nor grieve the children of men. It were infinitely 
unworthy of his wisdom and goodness, to please himself 
in seeing such poor creatures as we are, tossed up and 
down in the world, to behold our anguish, and hear our 
groans. It is our happiness and welfare which he de- 
signs in all his dispensations; and he maketh choice of 
the most proper and effectual means for that end. He 
seeth us wandering out of the way, ready to ruin and uip- 
do ourselves; and first be essay eth to reduce us by mild- 
er and more gentle methods: he trieth our gratitude and 
ingenuity, by all the endearments of mercy and good^ 
ness; he draweth us with the cords of love, and with 
the bands of a man. Eut if we break all these bands 
asunder, and cast away these cords 'from us; if we abuse 
his goodness, and turn his grace into wantonness; then, 
not only his justice, but his love to us, not only' his ha- 
tred to sin but his affection unto us, will oblige him to 
biter his method, and take the rod ip his hand, and try 
what severity can do. God's design in afflicting us is 
excellently expressed by the author to the Hebrews, 
chap. xii. ver. 10. He chasteneth us for our profit, that 
yie may be partakers of his holiness. Holiness is the 
highest perfection and greatest happiness we are capable 
of: it is a real participation of the divine nature, the 
ifluige of God drawn on th» soul; and all the cliastiMH 



or BAALT AFFLICTIONS. 110 

tnents we meet with, are designed to rednce us to this 
blessed temper, to make lis like unto himself; and there* 
by capable to be happy with him to all eternity. This 
will more clearly appear, if we reflect on the nataral 
temper of our minds, and the influence which prosper- 
ous or adverse fortune is wont to have upon them. 

And, first, we are naturally proud and self-conceited; 
we have a high esteem of ourselves, and would hava 
every body else to value and esteem us. This diseasa 
is very deeply rooted in our corrupt nature: it is ordina- 
rily the first sin that bewrays itself in the little actions 
and passions of children; aad many times the last which 
religion enables us So overcome. And such is the ma- 
lignity of its nature, that it rendeiv us odious and vile 
both ip the sight of God and man. It cannot but be in- 
finitely displeasing to that great and glorious Majesty, 
to see such silly creatures whom he hath brought forth 
out of nothing, and who are every moment ready to re- 
turn into it again, and have nothing of their own but fol- 
ly, and misery, and sin; to see such creatures I say, 
either so blind as to value themselves, or so unreason- 
able as to desiie others to value them. Good men must 
needs hate us for it, because God doth so; and evil men 
hate us for it, because they are proud themselves, and 
so are jealous of the attempts of others to exalt them- 
selves, as of that which tendeth to depress and diminish 
them. Pride alone is the source and fountain of almost 
all the disorders in the world; of all our troubles, and 
of all our sins: and we shall never be truly happy, or 
truly good, till we come to think nothing of ourselves, 
and be content that all the world think nothing of us. 
Now, there is nothing hath a more natural tendency to 
foment and heighten this natural corruption, than con- 
stant prosperity and success. The Psalmist, speaking 
of the prosperity of the wicked, who are not in trouble 
as others, neither are they plagued like other men, pres- 
ently subjoineth'the eflect. Therefore pride compasseth 
them about as a chain. Sanctified aiflictions contribute 
to abate and mortify the pride of our hearts, to prick the 
swelling imposthume, to make us sensible of our weak- 



120 THE ITECESSITY AND AnTANf AGS 

ness, and convince ns of our sins. Thus doth God opeA 
the ears of men^ and seal their instruction, that he may 
withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from 
man. And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden 
in cords of affliction; then he showeth them their work, 
and their transgressions that they have exceeded. Af- 
flictions do both put us en the search to find out the of- 
fences wherewith we have provoked God, and make us 
more sensible of the heinousness and malignity of their 
nature : 1 have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself 
thus. Thou hath chastised me, and I was chastised, as a 
bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I 
shaU be turned; for thou art the Lord my God. Surely 
ailerl was chastised, I rejpented; and after I was in- 
structed, I smote upon say thigh: I was ashaihed, yea, 
even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of 
my youth. 

Another distemper of our minds, is our too great affec- 
tion to the world and worldly things. We are all too 
apt to set our hearts wholly upon them; to take up our 
rest, and seek our happiness and satisfaction in them. 
But God knows, that these may well divert and amuse a 
while, they can never satisfy or make us happy ; that the 
souls which he made for himself, can never rest, till 
they return unto him: and therefore he many times find- 
eth it necessary, either to remove our comforts, or im- 
bitter them unto us; to put aloes and wormwood on the 
breasts of the world, that thereby we may wean our- 
selves from it, and carry them to the end of their being, 
the fountain of their blessedness and felicity. The few 
and little comforts of this life, (saith a peraon of great 
quality and worth,) notwithstandSftg all the troubles and 
crosses with which they are interlarded, are apt to keep 
the hearts even of good men in too ^at love of' this 
world. What would become of us, if our whole life 
. should be altogether prosperous and contenting, without 
any intermixture of crosses and afflictions? It is too prob- 
able we should nev^ look any farther; but conclude, 
with Peter on thci mount of transfiguration. Lord, it » 
good to be here. As Almighty God hath a very great 



»f EAALT AF^LtCTtO]r& 121 

afiection to i», so he is very desiroos of our love; not 
that it hringeth any advantage to him, but because it is 
our greatest happiness and perfection. He bestoweth 
Ida mercies to gain onr hearts; but, when we begin to 
doat on the p^, and forget the giver, he becomes jeal- 
ous, and takes them away, that he may not have any 
rival in our affection. And certainly it is no small advan- 
tage ,to have our hearts in any measure loosened from 
the world, disentangled from every thing here below. 
Quocunque pretio bene emitur: He makes a good, 
imrchase who obtains it, let it cost him never so dear. 

Another bad effect which prosperity is wont to pro- 
dnce in our corrupt nature, is, that it makes us foigetfal 
of God, and unthankful of bis meicies. When second 
eauMs answer our expectations and desires, we are sel- 
dom wont to look beyond them: we never regard the 
fountain till the cisterns begin to fail. This it was that 
made Agar to pray against a plentiful fortune, lest 1 be 
full, and den^.thee, and say, Who is the Lord? When 
the weather is fair, and the sails are filled with a pros- 
perous galoj the rough and stubborn mariners are seldom 
at their devotion; but when the storm is. risen, and the 
sea begins to swell, and every wave threateneth to de- 
vour them: then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, 
as on him who can alone deliver them out of their dis- 
tress. The Psalmist speaking of theur stifl^necked and 
rebellious predecesson, tells us, that when God slew 
them, then they sought him; and they remembered that 
God was their rock, and the high God thehr redeemer. 
In their affliction (saith the Lord by the Prophet) they 
will seek me early. I doubt not a great many devout 
persons will acknowledge, that it was some affliction or 
eth6r that firat taught them to pray. And as afflictions 
contribute to' make us remember our dependence on 
God, and then excite us to seek unto him; so also they 
render us more sensible of our obligations onto him, and 
more thankful for the mercies he hath bestowed on us. 
We are so dull and insensible, that we seldom value 
any of the divine mercies, till we find what it is to want 
them.' We put very little value on our food and i^- 
11 



\t% TRX NSCBStITT and' ADVANTAOli 

roent, and the ordinary means of our sabeistence, nti- 
lem we have been aometimes pinched with want We 
cottflider not how much we are indebted to God for pre- 
■erving our friends, till some of them be removed from 
us. How little do we prize oar health, if we have never 
had experience of sicknew or pain! Where is the man 
who doth seriously bless God tor his nightly quiet and 
repose? And yet, if sickness or trouble deprive us of it, 
we than find it to have been a mat and valuable mer- 
cy, and that it is God who giveth his beloved sleep. 

Once more, prosperity rendereth us insensible of the 
miseries and calamites of othere. Those who were at 
ease in Zion, did not grieve for the afflictions of Joseph. 
But afflictions do soften the heart, and make it more 
tender and kindly; and we are always most ready Ui 
compassionate those grie& which ourselves have seme- 
time endured: the sufferings of others make the deepest 
impressions upon us, when they put us in mind of our 
own. It is mentioned as a powerful motive to engage 
the children of IsraU to be kmd and merciful to stran- 
gera, that they knew very well the heart of a stranger, 
having been straogere themselves in Egypt. Now, this 
tender and compassionate temper doth well become a 
Christian, whose duty it is to weep with those that weep 
and to have as deep a sense and feeling of the grie£» of 
otheis, as he is wont to have of his own. 

These and many more advantages do sanctified and 
well-improved afflictions bring to a Christian; on ^ the 
account of which it is good for him that he hath borne 
the yoke. But I hasten to that which is mentioned in 
the text. Only by the way (that I may not need to 
return) let me take notice of the season which is here; 
mentioned as the fittest for a man to bear affliction: It 
is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. * 

We are all willing to put off the evil day; ai¥l».if we 
must needs. bear the yoke, we would choose to have it 
delayed till we grow old. We think it sad to have our 
rooming overcast with clouds, to meet with t storm be-* 
fore we have well launched forth from the shore. We 
are wont to indidge and applaud children and yovaoig 



or BAHLT XFFI.ICTIOirS. 12$ 

folks in their frolics aind jovial hnnloun; and tell them, 
they will have time enongh for cares and tronbles when 
th^ grow older: we tnm that irony of Solomon's into a 
seiiona advice. Rejoice, O yonng man, in thy yoath-, 
and walk in the ways of thy heart, and the sight of thine 
eyes. But the divine wisdom, which knoweth vehat is 
fit for OS, doth many times make choice of onr yonnger 
yean, as the most proper to accnstom ns to the bearing 
of the yoke. And a little consideration will make us 
discover the advantages of this season for suffering afflic- 
tions; they being at that thne most necessary, most tol- 
erable, and most advantageous. Finrt, I say, they are 
then most necessary. For youth is the time of onr life 
wherein we are in greatest danger to run into wild and 
extravagant courses: onr blood is hot, and our spirits 
nnslaid and giddy; we have too much pride to be gov- 
erned by others, and too little wisdom to govern our- 
srives. The yoke is then especially needful to tame 
our wildneas, and reduce us to a due staidness and 
composure of mind. Then also it is most supportable. 
The body ia strong and healthful, less apt to be affected 
with^tbe troubles of the mind; the spirit stout and vig- 
orous, will not so easily break and sink under them. 
Old age is a burden, and will soon fiiint under any 
supervenient load. The smallest trouble is enough to 
bring down gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. And 
therefore, since we must meet with afflictions, it itf cer- 
tainly a favourable circumstance, to have them at the 
time of our life wherein we are roost able to endure 
them. And, lastly, the lessons which afflictions teach 
ns, are then most advantageous when we learn them 
betimes, that we may have the use of them in the con- 
duct of our after lives. An early engagement into the 
ways of religion is a great felicity; and tli^ means where- 
by this is to be effected can never be too soon adminis- 
tered. Youth is more soft and pliable; and evil disposi- 
tions are more easily cured, before time and custom 
have hardened us in them. A tree needs little ibrce to 
bend it when it is young; and there needeth the less of 
the rod, if the cl^ld be brought under discipline betimes. 



124 THE NBCE0MTT AND ADVANTAGE 

And thus on many aeconnts it is good.for a man to bear 
the yoke in his youth. 

We proceed to the particular advanta|;e of afflictions 
which b mentioned in the text: He aitteth alone and 
keepeth silence, becaose he hath borne it upon him. 
The words are capable of a twofold interpretation, and 
both suit well with the purpose: for we may either un- 
derstand them properly, of solitude and silence} or met* 
aphorically, of patience and qoiet submission; both of 
which are the good effects of sanctified and weU-im« 
proved afflictions: and accordingly we shall say some- 
thing to both. Nature hath made us sociable creatures; 
but corruption hath carried this inclination unto excess; 
80 that most persons think it an intolerable burden to 
be any considerable time alone. Though they love 
themselves out of measure, yet they cannot endure their 
own conversation; they had rather be hearing and dis- 
coursing of the most naughty and trivial things, tlian be 
sitting alone and holding their peace. Outward pro»- 
perity heightens this humour. When the heart is dila- 
ted with joy, it seeketh to vent itself m every company. 
W^hen a man is free of trouble and cares, he thinks of 
nothing but how to please himself with variety of diver- 
sions and conversations. Crosses, on the other hand, 
render a man pensive and solitary ; they stop the mouth, 
and bind up the tongue, and incline the person to be 
much alone. Sadness makes his company disagreeable 
to others', and he findeth theus as little agreeable to him: 
He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath 
borne it upon him. Thus the same prophet said, I sat^ 
not in the assembly of the mockerB, nor rejoiced: I sat 
alone because of thine hand. 

Now,* he who considers, on the one hand, the' guilt 
we are wont to contract, and the prejudice which we 
sustain, by too much conversation with others, and. On 
the -other hand, the excellent improvement we may 
make of solitude and retirement, will account it a good 
efiect of afflictions, that they incline and dispose us pnto 
it. In considering the evils of frequent 'conversation, 
we are not to prosecute the gross^ and more scandalous 



OF BARLT AWWhtCTtOnB, 125 

vices of the tongue. It might seem a poor commenda- 
tion of solitude and silence, that a man is not swearing, 
or lying, or acoldmg, or talking profanely when he is 
alone: a man may converBe enough, and keep himself 
free from these. We rather choose to mention snch 
evils as are wont to be less noticed, and can be more 
hardly avoided. 

And, firat, experience may teach ns all, that ranch 
conversation doth ordinarily beget a remissness and dis- 
soli^ion of spirit; that it slackeneth and relaxeth the bent 
of oar minds, and disposeth ns to-sofiness and easy com- 
pliances. We find it hard eaoogh at any time to com- 
pose our spirits to that staidness and severity winch 
religion doth require: but if we be too mnc^ in company 
with others, it is almo^ impossible to maintain it. 
That cheerfulness and complaisance which is judged 
necesriiry to render conversation agreeable, doth easily 
degenerate into levity and sin: and we are very ready 
to displease our maker, when we are too intent on 
pleasing our friends. This loose frame and dissipation 
of mind, which society doth occasion, made a good 
man complain. Ex hominum eonaortio semper venio 
minus homo: that he always came out of company 
less a man. 

Another prejudice we receive by society, is, that it . 
fills our minds with noxious images, and fortifies our 
corrupt notions and opinions of thim. Our hearts are ' 
naturally too much addicted to the mings of the world; 
we inittd them too much, and put too mgh a value up- 
on them: and the discourses we hear redouble the temp- 
tation, by bringing them continnally into our thoughts, 
and setting them off to the greatest advantage. When 
we are alone in a sober temper, and take time to reflect 
and consider of thi^igs, we are sometimes persuaded of 
the vanity and wortMessness of all those glittering trifles 
whereunto the generality of mankind are so sadly be- 
witched: but when we come abroad, and listen to the 
common talk, and hear people speak of greatness, and 
riches, and honour, with concern and admiration, we 
quickly forget oar more sober and deliberate thoughts, 
11» 



186 THE NXCX88ITY AND APVANTAGS 

liiid suffer ounelves to be earned away with tiie otresni' 
of the commoii opinien. And thoagh the effects be 
not so sudden and observiible, yet these discoones are 
sUU making some secret and insensible impressions, 
apon ns. 

Thos also is our judgment corrupted about the qual- 
ities and endowments of the mind. Courage and gal- 
lantry, wit and eloquence, and other accomplishments 
of this nature, are magn^ed and extolled beyond all 
measure; whereas humility, and meekness, and devo- 
tion, and all those Christian graces which render a soul 
truly excellent and lovely, are spoken of as mean and 
contemptible things: for though men have not the impu- 
dence formally to make the comparison, and prefer the 
former; yet their v&ry air, .and way of discoursing about 
these things, sufficiently testifies their opinion. With 
what affection and concernment will they represent a 
gallant or learned man; but how faintly do they utter 
the character of a good man! And so, in censurinc 
men's failings, they exaggerate the smallest instances of 
weakness or imprudence, but speak lightly enough of the 
greatest crimes. Drunkenness and whoredom are men- 
tioned in such terms as express little sense of their hei-* 
nous nature; and tend to lessen the horror we should 
have of them. Ambition and revenge, and such other 
plausible vices, are rather allowed than condenmed. 
And while we converse in the world, and are accustom- 
ed to such representations of things, our judgments are. 
thereby exceedingly corrupted, and we entertain false. 
and pernicious maxims. And so hard it is to guard 
ourselves against the contagion, that we had better sit 
alone and keep silence, thsm be continually exposed to 
the temptation. . 

I shall mention but another of those evils wherewith 
our convoDMition is conwionly attended. The most or- 
dinary subject Qf our entertainments are the faults and 
follies of others. Jtur in verba, aernio seritur, vita 
aliena, deacribitvr: We meet and talk, and fall to 
describe the life and deportment of others. Were this 
one theme of discourse discharged, we would oil-times 



OP BARLY AFFLICTIOXS. 127 

find bnt little to say. I scarce know any faalt whereof 
good persons are so frequently gnilty, and so little sen- 
sible. They know perhaps the things are tme, and 
they have no malicioas design in reporting them; they 
tell them only as they do the public news, to divert 
themselves, and gratify their friends. Bnt, would w& 
consult our own hearts, and apply the great rule of 
righteousness, of doing unto others as we would be 
done unto ourselves, we should soon be convinced of ft 
great deal more guilt and sinfulness in such discourses 
than we are wont to apprehend. How ill do we take 
it to have our own faiimga thus exposed, and to hear 
that any penon hath made as bold with us as we aie 
wont to make with others? Again, how loth would we 
be, that the persons of whom we speak so freely, should 
overhear our discourse, or be informed of it? Now, if 
the practice had nothing blamable in it, why should we 
be so shy to avow it? 

I have only hinted at these things: but he who shall 
seriously ponder them, will acknowledge, there is no 
little {N-ejudice even in those entertainments which pass 
for very innocent in the world; and that he shnnneth 
much guilt and many snares who sitteth alone and 
keepeth silence. But solitude and retirement do not 
only deliver us from these inconveniences, but also 
afford very excellent opportunities for bettering our 
souls. Those hours we mispend in needless visits and 
idle talk, if rightly improved, might set us a great way 
forward on our journey to heaven. While we are too 
bn^ in making or entertaining acquaintance with men, 
we many times fall out of acquaintance both with God 
and ourselves. 

The most profane and irreligious persons will find 
some serious thoughts rise in weir minds if they be 
much alone. And the more that any person is advanc- 
ed in piety and goodness, the more will he delight in 
retirement, and receive the more benefit by it. Then 
it is that the devout soul takes its highest flight in di- 
vine contemplations and maketh its nearest approaches 
to God. I find the vulgar Latin rendereth Uie words 



128 THE NKCS88ITT AlfD AOVANTAGS 

of the text, SedebU $oiUariu» et taeebit, qtiia lettmU 
se 9Upra $e: The solitary person will sit still and hold 
his peace, beoause he hadi lifted up hioaself above him- 
aelf: raised his spirit above his ordinary pitch. In boU- 
tndine (stfith one of the fathers) cter pwrior, ceelttm 
apertitu, famUiearior Deu$: In solitude we breathe, 
as it were, in a purer air, heaven is more open onto us, 
and God is more familiar and frequent in his visits. To 
which purpose some have applied that of the Prophet 
Hosea, Behold I will allnre her, and bring her into the 
wilderness, and there speak comfortably unto her; or^ 
as the original importeth, I will speak unto her heart. 
That rule which our Saviour giveth for our devotion, to 
enter into our closet, and shut the door behind us, is a& 
necessary to preserve us from distraction, as from vanity^ 
and ostentation. When we have retired as much as we 
can from the iqrorld, we do still carry too much of it 
along with us. The images of things do sufficiently 
persecute and disturb us, though we be not exposed to 
the objects themselves. Our blessed Saviour thought 
not the mountains and deserts retired enough for his de- 
votions; but would add the darkness and silence of the 
night Little doth the world understand those secret 
and hidden pleasures which devout souls do feel, when, 
having got out of the noise and hurry of the world, they 
sit alope and keep silence, contemplating the divine 
perfections, which shine so conspicuously in all his ^ 
worics of wonder } admiring his greatness, and wisdom, 
and love, and revolving his favours towards themselves; 
openins before him their griefs and their eares, and dis- 
burdenmg their souls into his bosom; protesting their 
allegiance and subjection unto him, and telling him a 
thousand times that they love him; and then listening 
unto the voice of God within their hearts, that still and 
quiet voice, which is not wont to be heard in the streets, 
that they may hear what God the Lord will speak: for 
he will spee^ peace unto his people, and to his saints, 
and visit them with the expressions of his love. No 
wonder if those bldssed souls who have tasted the plev-' 
ures of holy retirement, and found themselves, as it 



or £ARi<T ArrLiCTioNf. im 

were, in the sttbnrbs of heaven, grow weuy of com- 
pany and affaire, and long for the returning of those 
happy homs, as the hireli^ for the shades of the eve- 
ning: no wonder they pity the foolish busy world, who 
spend their days in vanity, and know not what it is 
indeed to live. 

But here I would not bte mistaken, as if I recommend* 
ed a total and constant retirement, or persuaded men 
to forsake the world, and betake tliemselves unto des-' 
erts. No, certainly; we must not abandon the stations 
wherein God hath placed us, nor render ourselves use* 
less to mankind. Solitude hath its temptations, and we 
may be sometimes very bad company to ourselves. It 
was not without reason that a wise pei^n warned 
another, who professed to delight in conversing with 
himself. Vide ut cum homine probo: Have a care that 
yon be keeping company with a good.man. Abused 
solitude may w^t men's passions, and irritate their lusts, 
and prompt them to things which company would re- 
strain. And this made one say, that he who is much 
aJone, must either be a saint or devil. Melancholy, 
which inclines men most to retirement, is often too 
much nourished and fomented by it; and there is a , 
peevish and sullen loneliness, which some people affect 
under their troubles, whereby they feed on discontented 
thoughts, and find a kind of perverse pleasure in refus- 
ing to be comforted. But all this says no more, but 
that good things may be abused ; and excess or disorder 
may turn the most wholesome food into poison. And 
• therefore, though I would not indifferently recommend 
much, solitude unto all; yet, sure, I. may say, it were 
good for the most part of men that they were less in 
company, and more alone. 

Thus much of the first and proper sense of sitting 
alone and keeping silence. We told you it might also 
import a quiet and patient submission to the will of 
Goid; the laying of our hand on our mouth, that no ex- 
pression of murmur or discontent may escape us. I 
was dumb, said the Psalmist, I opened not my mouth; 
because thon didst it. And the Prophet describeth our 



190 THE IfECKStlTY AMD ADVANTAGE, &e. 

Savioar'g patience, that he was oppressed, aod was af- 
flicted, yet he opened not his moath: he waJi brought 
as a Iamb to the slanghter, and as a sheep before the 
shearers is dumb, so he opened not his moath. Indeed 
a modest and nnafiected silence is a good way to ex- 
press our submission to the hand of God under afflic- 
tions. The Heathen moralists, who pretend much to 
patience, could never hold their peace;' but desired al- 
ways to signalize themselves by some fetches of wit, 
and expressions of unusual courage. But certainly the 
mute and quiet Christian behaveth himself much better. 
Loequadssimum illttd sUentium: That eloquent and 
expressive silence saith more than all their vain and 
Stoical boastings. We cannot now insist in any length 
on this Christian duty of patience, jmd submission to 
the will of God; we shall only say two thinga of it, 
which the text«importeth. First, that this lesson is 
most commonly learned in the school of afflictions: He 
sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne 
it upon him. In that forecited place of Jeremiah xxxi. 
18. Ephraim bemoaning himself, acknowledgeth that he 
had been aa a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; which 
maketh the greater reluctancy against it. Children that 
are much indulged, are the more impatient if they come 
to be crossed; and there is too much of the child in us 
all. The Apostle tells us, that tribulation worketh pa- 
tience. CuMom makes every thing more tolerable un- 
to us; and if it please God to sanctify the first stroke, 
the second is received with the greater submission. The 
other thing 1 have to say on this duty, is, that this ad- 
vantage of afflictions is very great and desirable; that it 
is indeed very good ibr a man to have borne the yoke 
in his youth, if he hath thereby learned to sit alone 
and keep silence when the hand of the Lord is upon 
him. There is nothing more acceptable unto God, no 
object more lovely aud amiable in his eyes, than a spul 
thus prostrate before him, thus entirely i^esigned unto his 
holy will, thus quietly submitting to his severest dispen- 
sations. Nor is it less advantageous unto ourselves; but 
sweeteneth the bitterest occurrences of our life, and 



A SMALL NtTMBER SAVED. 181 

makes ns relish an inward and secret pleasure, notwith- 
fltanding all the smart of affliction: so that the yoke be- 
comes supportable, the rod itself comforts ns; and we 
^find much more delight in suffering the will of God, 
than if he had granted us our own. Now, to this God 
who loveth us, and correcteth us for our profit, that we 
may be partakers of his holiness, and thereby of his 
happiness; to God the Father, Son, and blessed Spirit, 
be all honour, praise, and glory, now and for ever. 
Jlmen. 



THAT THERE ARE BUT A SMALL NUMBER SAVED. 



LUKE Xni. 23. 

Then said one ttnto Mm, Lord^ are there few that 
he saved? And he said unto them^ 4rc. 
Those who have so much charity and goodness as 
to be nearly touched with the interests of mankind, can- 
not but be more especially concerned abont their ever- 
lasting condition; and very anxious to know what shall 
become of poor mortals when this scene is over, and 
they cease to appear on the stage of the worid, being 
called off'to give an account of their deportment on it. 
And, seeing we are assured that there are different, and 
very opposite estates of departed souls, some bein^ ad- 
mitted into happiness, and others doomed to misery, 
beyond any thing that we can conceive; this may put 
tbera upon farther inquiry, how mankind is like to be 
divided? whether heaven or hell shall have the greater 
diare? Such a laudable curiosity as this it was, that pat 
one of our blessed Saviour's followers to propose the • 
qnestion in the text. Lord, are there few that be saved? 
Our Saviour had been lately foretelling the great success 
the gospel shoukl have; how, like a little leaven that 
quickly lermenteth the whole lump it is put into, Chris- 



' 1S2 THAT TREAE AAK BUT 

tiaiiity dioiild soon propagate itself through the world, 
and many nations embrace the profession of it. This 
disciple, it seems, was desirous to know, whether the 
eflicacy should be answerable to the extent? whether it 
should take as deep root in the hearts of those that 
owned it, as it was to spread itself far and wide on the 
face of the earth? in a word, whether the greatest- part 
of men wero to be saved by^ it? I called this a laudable 
curiosity; and there is reason to think it so, since our 
SaTioor himself, who best knew the occasion and im- 
portance of it, doth not check, but satisfy the inquiry; 
which he was wont to do when the questions were use- 
less or blamable. Those who inquired into the time 
of the general judgment, received no other account, 
but that it was inter artana imperii; among those 
secrets which God reserved for himself. And, again, 
when they asked of the time that the kingdom should 
be restored unto Israel, he tells them roundly, it was not 
for them, it concerned them not at all to know such, 
tlungs as these. But here, as the question seems to 
have proceeded from a zeal to the honour of God, and 
concernment in the happiness of mankind; so the reso- 
lution of it might be very useful: and accordingly it is 
improved^ by our Saviour; who at once resolves the 
doubt, and presseth a very weighty exhortation, in the 
following words. Strive to enter in, &c. We are not 
at this time to prosecute the whole importance of this 
latter verse; for that we refer you to an excellent ser- 
mon, entitled. The way to happiness. We shall only 
consider the answer which is implied in it to the fore- 
going question; to wit, that the number of those who 
ate to be saved is really small. 

It is on this point we design to fix our meditations at 
this time. And indeed there is scarce any doctrine that 
needeth to be more inculcated: for, amongst all the 
stratagems whereby the great enemy of mankind doth 
plot and contrive their ruin, few are more unhappily 
successful, than the fond persuasion he hath filled 
them with, that heaven and everlasting happiness are 
ea^ly attainable. What one saith of wisdom, Multi 



A 8MALI. NtJMBEll SAVSD. 189 

ad sapientiam pervenissent nisi putas$erU se per-- 
venisse, we may, with n little alteration, apply unto 
this purpose; That many might have reached heaven, if 
diey had not been so confident of it. The doors of the 
Christian church are now very wide, and men have 
access unto them upon easy terms: nay this privilege 
descends unto men by th^r birth, and they are reckon- 
ed among Chrbtians before they come well to know 
what it means. The ordinances and mysteries of bur 
religion are common to all, save those whom gross ignor 
ranee or notorious crimes do exclude. There are no 
marks on the foreheads of men-whereby we can jud^e 
of their future condition: they die, and are laicl in their 
graves, and none cometh back to tell how it fareth with 
them; and we desire to, think the b^t of every particur 
lar person. But, whatever charity be in this, there is 
little prudence in the inference that many draw from it, 
who think that they may live 89 their neighbours do, 
and die as happily as they; and, since the greatest part 
of men are such as themselves, heaven must be a very 
empty place if all of them be debarred. Thus perhaps 
you have seen a flock of sheep on a bridge, and the 
first leapeth over, and the rest, not knowmg what is be- 
come of those that went before, do each of them follow 
their companions into that hazard or ruin. Interest and 
self-love do so strongly blind the minds of men, that 
they can hardly be put from the belief of that which 
they would very fain have true. Hence it is, that, 
notwithstanding of ajl we are told to the contrary; the 
opinion of the broadness of the way that leads to hea- 
ven, and the easy access unto it, is still the naost epi- 
demic, and I think the most dangerous heresy. Many 
of ie commonalty are so ignorant as to avow it; and 
the strange security of more knowing persons doth as 
loudly proclaim it. I know he undertakes an unwel- 
come errand, who goes about to dispossess the minds 
of men of such a pleasant and flattering error. But 
what shall we do! Shall we suffer them, to sleep on and 
take their rest, till the everiasting flames awake them? 
Shall we draw their blood on our heads, and involve 
.12 



1S4 THAT THERE ARE BTTT 

Ourselves in their rnin, by neglecting to advertise them 
of their hazard? No, my friends: duty doth oblige v», 
and the holy Scriptnrea will warrant ns to assure you, 
that there are very few that iihall be saved; that the 
whole world lieth in wickedness; and that they area 
little flock to whom the Father will give the kingdom. 

That this certain, though lamentable truth may take 
die deeper impression on oar minds, we shall first pro- 
pose some considerations for the better understanding 
what great tilings are required in those who look for 
iBverlasting happiness, and then reflect on the actions 
and ways of men; that, comparing the one with the 
other, we may see how little ground of hope there is 
for the greatest part^ to build on. 

First, then, consider the nature of that divine Majesty, 
whose presence and enjoyment it is that makes heaven 
desirable; and think bow inconsistent it is with his infl- 
nite holiness, to admit impure and impenitent sinners 
into the habitation of his glory. Certainly he is of purer 
eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity. 
He is not a God that liath pleasure in wickedness: 
neither shall evil dwell with him. The foolish shall not 
stand in his sight. It is strange what conceptions fool- 
ish men entertain of Almighty God, who imagine, that 
thosie who have been all their days wallowing in sin, 
shall be admitted into an everlasting fellowship with 
him. Sooner shall light and darkness dwell together, 
and heat and cold in their greatest violence combuje, 
and all contrarieties of nature be reconciled. Can two 
walk together except they be agreed? Can there be any 
converse between those whose natures suit so ill to- 
gether? Sure they who think to come so easily by happi> 
ness, must imagine God altogether such a one as them-, 
selves; else they could never hope that be would choose 
them, and cause them approach unto him. Bat O how 
widely shall they find themselves mistaken, when he 
shall reprove them, and set their sins in order before 
them: and they shall find to their confusion, that he is 
a consuming fire to all the workers of iniquity! Men 
are wont to frame a notion of God according to their 



4. 8MALI. IfVMBXB lAVBD. 189 

own wiehing, as if he were bat an empty -DamQ: and 
this ia the coniinon shelter against every convincing n»» 
proof. But this temerity shall at length snthciently coiv- 
fate itself, atod feel that justice which it will not believe. 
There is not strife among the attributes of God, that 
one of them shall swallow up another* Mercy is open 
to all .that foraake their sins, bat justice shall sei^e on 
tXiose who continae in them. That compassion which 
qiade God to give hia dearest Son for the redemption 
of mankind, wUl never prevul for the pardon and de- 
liverance of any impenitent sinner. Abused, goodness 
will certainly tarn into fury; and infinite mercy, beinc 
despised, shall bring down open sinners all the dreadfm 
eiKectK of an omnipotent vengeance. 

Consider, secondly, what tliat happiness is which 
every body doth so confidently promise to themselves; 
and see whether it be likely that it should be so easily 
attained. Glorious things are everywhere spoken of 
that heavenly Jerusalem; and all that is excellent or de- 
sirable in this world, is borrowed* to shadow it forth in 
the holy Scriptures: we are told of crowns, and king«- 
doms, and treasures, and rivers of pleasure, and foun- 
tains of living waters, and of an exceeding eternal 
weight of glory. * 

But all these do not suffice to convey into onr minds 
any full apprehension of the happiness we expect; and, 
after all that can be said, it doth not yet appear what 
we shall be. These metaphors and allegories serve but 
to assist our minds a little, and give us some confused 
apprehensions of the things* eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard; nor can it qnter into tlie heart of men to conceive, 
what God hath prepared (or them that love him, said 
that.betoved disciple that lay in the bosom of onr Sa- 
viour. Can we then expect that so glorious a prize shall 
be gained without any labour? Shall such a recompense 
be bestowed on those who never were at any pains 
about it? What toil and travail doth it cost a man to 
gather together that white and yellow earth which they 
call money? 'With what care and pjuns do others ascend 
tfO any degree of preferment? What industry and study 



186 THAT TItBRB ARB BUT , 

do men employ to. reach a little knowledge, and be 
reckoned amongst the learned? And shall heaven and 
everlasting happiness slide into our arms when we are 
asleep? No, certainly. God will never disparage the 
glories of that place, to bestow them on those who have 
not thoaght them worthy of their most serious endeav- 
oors. But as the greatness of that happiness may justly 
discourage all the lazy pretenders to it, so the nature of 
k leaves small ground of hope to the greatest part of 
the world. I wonder what most men do expect to meet 
with in heaven, who dream of coming thither. Think 
they to feast and revel, and luxuriate there, and to 
spend eternity in foolish mirth, and vain talk; in sport 
and drollery, and sensual pleasure; which are all tne 
exercises they are capable of, or find relish or satisfac- 
tion in? Away with all those Turkish notions, whereby 
we disparage the happiness we pretend to. The joys 
of that place are pure and spintual, and no unclean 
thing shall enter there. The felicity of blessed spirits 
Btandeth in beholdingiand admiring the divine perfec- 
tions, and finding the image of them shining in them- 
selves, in a perfect conformity of the will and nature 
of God, and an intimate and delishtful society and 
communion with him: and shall such souls be blessed 
in seeing and partaking of the divine likeness, who 
never loved it, and would choose any thing rather than 
to converse with him? A little reflection on the com- 
mon temper of men's minds may assure us, that they 
are very far from that meetness and aptitude for the 
inheritance of the saints in light which the Apostle 
speaks of. The notion and nature of blessedness must 
sure be changed, or else the temper of their spirits: 
either they must have new hemts, or a new heaveu^ 
created for them, before they can be happy. It is a 
strange infatuation of self love, that men in the gall of 
bitterness should think it is well with their souls, and 
fancy themselves in a case good enough for the enjoy- 
ment of divine pleasures. 

In the fourth place. Let us reflect on the attempts 
and endeavours of tl^ose who have gone to heaven be- 



A SMALL NUMBBR SAVED. 1(7 

fqre ns; how they did fight and strive, wrestle and nm, 
for obtaining that glorious prize; and we shall see how 
improbable it is, that the greatest part of men should 
come by it with so little pains, ^oah, Abraham, Ja- 
cob, David, and all those ancient worthies recorded in 
holy writ, have either done or suffered so great things, 
98 gave ground to expect that country they looked after, 
accounting themselves strangers and pilgrinas on the 
earth; aa you niay see in the 11th chapter of Hebrews: 
where, after a large catalogue of their performances, 
the author tells us of ojthers, who were tortured, not 
accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better 
resurrection. And others had trial of crud mockings, 
and scoui^ings, yea moreover, of bonds and imprison- 
ment. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, 
were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wander- 
ed about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins; being destitute, 
afflicted, tormented: of whom the world was not wor- 
thy. They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and 
in dens alid caves of the earth. Such also was that 
holy violence wherewith the Christians of the first and 
golden ages did force open the gates of heaven, and 
took possession of it. The ardent affection wherewith 
these blessed souls were inflamed towards their maker 
and redeemer, made them willingly give up their bodies 
to be burned in the fire, for the g^ory of God, and the 
propagation of the Chrbtian faith. Their constancy in 
their sufferings did amaze their bloody persecutors, and 
outweary the cruelty of their tormentors: and they re- 
joiced in nothing more, than that they were accounted 
worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus. And 
what shall we say of their universal charity and love, 
which reached their very enemies? of their humility and 
meekness, justice iand temperance, and all those other 
virtues which many of the Heathens themselves did 
observe and admire? Behold, saith one, bow the Chris- 
tians love one another! These are the men, saith anoth- 
er, who speak as they think, and do as they spenkf 
Pliny, afler an exact inquiry, writeth to Trajan the Em* 
peror. That he could nev«r find any other guilt in the 
12* 



188 THAT TKXllX ARE B^T 

Chiistiaiis, bat that they met together before daybreak, 
to nng a hymn to Christ, as if he were God; and then 
to bind themselves with a sacrament or oath, not to do 
any mischief; but, on the contrary, that they shall not 
rob, steal, or commit adultery, or falsify their words, 
or deny their trust, See. This was the crime of Chris- . 
tians in those first ages, to engage themselves hot to 
commit any crime. And if.it fell out that any of them 
were guilty of drunkenness, or uncleanness, or any oth- 
er of those sins, which, alas! are so lightly censured in 
pur days, they were severely punished: nay, how bit- 
terly did tliemselves lament it! They needed not in 
those days fo be pursued by tedious processes, or drag- 
ged against their will to the profession of their repen- 
tance. They would sue for it with tears, and stand 
many years at the door of the church, begging to be 
received. The censures of the church were then look- 
ed upon as very serious and dreadful things: and they 
who would encounter death in the most terrible form, 
would tremble if threatened with excommunication. 
Now, tell me, I pray you, what you think of these men? 
Did they supererogate, and go beyond their duty? or 
were they fools in doing these things, when half the 
pains might have ser^'ed the turn? Did heaven and hap- 
piness cost them so much labour, and think you to be 
carried fast asleep, or rather while you are bending 
your forces quite another way ! If you cannot look so 
far back, or if you imagine these but romances, like the 
poetic accounts of the golden age, wherein all men 
were happy and good, I shall then desire you to take 
notice of a few persons, whom the divine goodness hath , 
rescued from that deluge of wickedness which oyer- 
floweth the world. There are perhaps some two or 
three in a city, or in a country, who live very far be- 
yond the common Tate of men, and may be accounted 
angels upon earth, if compared with them. They have 
escaped the pollution that is in the world, and have 
learned to despise all the vanities of it; their affections 
are above, and their greatest business is, to please and 
serve their maker; their thoughts and aSbctions are in 



A SMALI. NUMBXR BAVEO. 189 

a ^eat measure holy and pure, their converse innocent 
and useful, and in their whole deportment they obeerve 
such Arict rules of holiness and virtue, as others may 
think needless or superstitibus: and yet these persons 
are deeply sensible of their OTJkn imperfections, and 
afraid enough to come short of heaven. I speak not 
now of those scrupulous persons whom melancholy doth 
expose unto perpetual and unaccountable fears; much 
less of others, who make a trade of complaining, and 
would be the better thought of for speaking evil of 
theinselves, at|d would be very ill pleased if you should 
believe tjiem. I speak of rational and sober men, whose 
fears arise from their due consideration and measures 
of things, from the right apprehensions they hav6 of 
the holiness of God, and the meaning and importance 
of the gospel-precepts. And certainly such holy jeal- 
ousies over themselves ouffht not to be judged needless; 
since St. Paul himself, who had been r&pt up into the 
third heaven, and' thereby received an earnest of eter- 
nal happiness, found it necessary to take care,' lest that 
by any means, while he preacned to others, himself 
should be a cast-away. I know it is ordinary for men 
to faugh at those who are more serious and conscien- 
tious than themselves, to wonder what they aim at, and 
to hope to be as sure of heav^i as they. But ere long 
they shall discover their mistake, and shall say, with 
those spoken of in the book of Wisdom, This was he 
whom we had sometimes in derision, and a proverb of 
' reproach. We fools accounted his life madness, and 
his end to be without honour. How is he numbered 
among the children of God, and his lot is among the 
saints! Therefore have we erred from the way of truth, 
and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us, 
and the sun of righteousness rose not upon us. 

To come yet closer unto our present purpose, a se- 
rious consideration of the laws and precepts of the go»- 
pel, will fully convince us of the straightness of the 
gate, and narrowness of the way that leads unto eter- 
nal life. We cannot name them all, nor insist upon 
an at length. Look through that excellent sermon on 



140 lilAT TBX&E ARE BUT 

the montiti and see what oar Saviotir doth require of 
his foUoweni. You will find him injoining sach a pro- 
found hnmility, as shall make a» think nothing of oar- 
aehres, and he content that others think nothing of ns; a 
meekness which no injnries can overcome, no affronts 
nor indignities can exasperate; a chastity which restrain- 
eth the eight of the eyes, and the wandering of the de- 
sires; such an universal charity as will make us tender 
other men's welfare as our own, and never to take any 
reveiige against oar most bitter enemies, but to wish 
them well, and to do them all th6 good we can, wheth- 
er, they will or not Whatever corrupt glosses men 
are bold to put on our Saviour's words, the offering the 
other cheek to him who smote the one, and the giving 
bur coat to him who hath taken our cloak, doth oblige 
OS to suffer injuries, and part with something of our 
right, for avoiding strife and contention. The spulling 
out o\ur right eye and cutting off our right hand that 
offends, doth import the renouncing of the most gainful 
callings^, or pleaaant enjoyments, when they 'become a 
snare onto us, and the use of all those corporal austeri- 
ties that are necessary for the restraint of our lust and 
corrupt affections. The hatmg of father and mother for 
the sake of Christ, doth at least imply the loving of 
him infinitely' beyond our dearest relations, and the be- 
ing ready to part with them when either our duty or his 
wUl doth call for it. And we must not look upon these 
things as only counsels of perfection, commendable in 
themselves, but which may yet be neglected without 
any great hazard. No, certainly; they are absolutely 
necessary: and it is folly to expect happiness^ without 
the conscientious and sincere performance of .them all. 
Whosoever shall break one of these least command- 
ments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the 
least in the kingdom of heaven; that is, according^ to 
all interpreters, he shall have no interest in it. Yoa 
see then by what strict rules he must square his actions, 
who can with any sround hope to be saved. But now 
I must tell you further; that be must not be put to the 
performance of his duty merely by the force and sane- 



A 8MALI« VfVMBJta. SAVED. 141 

tions of these laws. True religion is an inwara, free, 
and self-moving principle; and those who have made a 
progress in it, are not acted only hy external motives, 
are not merely driven by threatenings, nor bribed by 
promises, nor constrained by laws; but are powerfully 
mclined to that which is good. Though holy and re- 
ligious persons do much eye the law of God; yet it is 
not so much the authority and sanction of it, as its rea^ 
sonableness, and purity, and goodness, that doth prevail 
with them. They account it excellent and desirable in 
itself, and that in keeping of it there is' a great reward; 
and that divine love wherewith they are acted, makes 
them become a law unto themselves: Quis legem det 
amantibua? Major est amor lex ipse sibi. In a 
wprd, what our blessed Saviour said' of himself, is in 
some measure applicable to his followers, that it is their 
meat and drink to do their Father's will. And as the 
natural appetite is carried out towards food, though we 
should not reflect on the necessity of it for the preser- 
vation of our lives; so are they carried with a natural 
and unforced propension towards that which is good 
and commendable. 

Hitherto we have been speaking of those qualifica- 
tions which are necessary for obtaining an entrance 
into heaven: It is liigh time we were casting our eyes 
upon the world, to see how the tempers and actions 
of men agree with them. And if first we look back 
upon the old world, we shall see how soon wickedness 
did overspread the face of the earth, and all flesh had 
corrupted their way; and of all the multitudes that were 
ihen in the world, only Noah and his family were found 
worthy to escape the general deluge; nay even in it 
there was a cursed Cham, the father of a wicked gene- 
ration. After that the church of God was confined to 
a very narrow comer; and while darkness covered the 
face of the earth, only Palestine was enlightened with 
the knowledge of God: He showed his woM unto Jacob, 
his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. But he dealt 
not so with every nation: as for his judgments, they 
have not known them. They were given up to the 



143 THAT TBJERB ARK BUT 

loKts of their own faeaits, and wonhipped the works of 
tbeir own hand& Their devotions were perfonned ante 
devils» and their religious mysteries were full of the 
grossest impurities. I shall not now enter on the de- 
bate. Whether ever any Heathen might possibly have 
been saved? We are more concerned to secure our own 
salvation, than to dispute about theirs: and yet I must 
say, that, amongst aU the lives of celebrated Heathens, 
I could never meet with the character of a truly good 
man. And though I love not to decry morality, yet 
that pride and self*conceit which mingled itself with 
their fairest actions, makes me look u^n them as in- 
deed splentUda peceata, a more specious kind of sins. 
But suppose something could be said for Socrates and 
Plato, aind two or- three others, what is that to those 
huge multitudes, who without aH peradventure, ran 
headlong into everlasting destruction? But let us leave 
those times, and look upon the present condition of the 
world. It is a sad account of it that is given by Breer- 
wood in his Enquiries, that dividing the whole world 
into thirty parts, nmeteen are Pagan, six are Mahome- 
tan, and only five remain for Christians of all persua- 
sions. I shall not warrant the exactness of his reckon- 
ing: but certainly the number of Christians carries but 
a very small proportion to the rest of mankind. And 
of these again, how few are there orthodox in their re- 
ligion? I dare not condemn all those who live in the 
Romish communion: but sore they lie under very great 
disadvantages; and, besides the common difficulties of 
Christianity, their errors ^nd superstitions are no small 
hinderances unto them. 

But we may perhaps think ourselves little concerned 
in them. Let us consider those who live in communion 
with ourselves, and see what is to be thought of the 
generality vf them. And, first, we shall find a very 
great number of them so grossly ignorant, that they 
know not the way that leacb to life. And truly it is 
not so broad that people should keep it by guess. And 
however they imagine, that their ignorance will not 
«Dly b9 excufiablo in itself, but afford a cloak to their 



A SMALL NUMBER SATXD. 148 

ether wickecine!*»; yet dreadfol is that threatening of the 
prophet Iiaaiah, It is a people of no undeimandiog: there^ 
fore he tluit made them will not have mercy npon them, 
and he that farmed them wiU^ show them no favour. 
But, besides those many thoosands that perish for lack 
of knowledge, how great are the nomber of viciona 
and scandalous persons? Remove but our gluttons and 
drunkards, our thievea and deceivers, our oppressora 
and extortioners, our scolders and revilers, our fomica-i 
tors and adulterers, and all that cursed crew that are 
guilty of such heinous crimes, and how thin should our 
ehnrches be? to what a small number should we quick- 
ly be reduced? A little comer would hold us «11. And 
think yon these I have been speaking of, are fit to en- 
ter into the kingdom of heav^it? Perhaps yon may think 
us rash to condemn so many of our neighbours, but the 
Apostle hath done it to our hands: Know y« not that 
the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? 
Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor efTemmate, nor abusers of themselves 
with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, 
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom 
of God. You see what a heavy sentence is pronounced: 
and O how many are included under it! I shall name 
one other vice, Which I fear will drive in no small num- 
ber of those who are yet behind; and that is, the hellish 
and unaccountable sin of swearing, whereby men do 
commonly throw away their souls, without any tempta- 
tion, pleasure, or advantage. How often do men baffle 
the sacred name of God, by calling him to witness to 
such trifles as they might be ashamed to attest before 
any grave or sober person? This they account an orna- 
ment of speech, and their words would never sound big 
enough without it I cannot stand to reckon up all the 
aggravations of this sin. It is certainly Inconsistent 
with a religious temper: and this alone, if there were 
no more, would damn the. greatest part of the christian 
world. And what shall we say of all those other vices, 
which are so frequently practised, yea, and defended 
too among us? for, alas! we are arrived at tliat height 



144 THAT TUSBK ARS BUT 

of impietyt that virtue and vice seem to have Bhifted 
places; evil and good to have changed thejr names. It 
is counted a gallant thing to despise all divine and hu- 
man laws; and a childish scrupulosity, to forbear any 
thing that may gratify our lusts. A strong faith is ac- 
counted an argument of weak judgment; dependence 
upon providence is judged want of foresight; and that 
there is no wit but in deceiving others: no man is reck- 
oned generous, unless he be extremely ambitious; and it 
is want of courage to forgive an injury. O Religion, 
whither art thou fled! In what corner of the world shall 
we find thee? Shall we search thee in courts and palaces 
of great men? Pride and luxury hath driven thee thence; 
and they are too much concerned in the business and 
pleasure of this world, to mind those of another. Shall 
we seek thee in the cottages of the poor? Envy and 
discontent lodgeth there; their outward, want takes up 
all their thoughts, and they have little regard for their 
souls. Shall we go into the city? Cheating and extor- 
tion, and intemperance, are almost all we can meet 
with there. And if we retire into the country, we shall 
find as little iniv>cence in it. We may look for judg- 
ment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but be- 
hold a cry. 

After all that we have hitherto said, some may think 
themselves safe enough, being conscious of none of 
those vices which we have named. But, alas! what 
is all this? They may still be far from the kingdom of 
heaven. Religion stands not in negatives; and the 
being free from gross and scandalous vices, is a poor 
plea for heaven. Look how the soul is furnished with 
those divine graces, which ought to qualify thee for it. 
I shall name but one; and it is, the love of God; and 
every body pretendeth to it: but O how few are there 
in the world that understand what it means ; that feel 
the power and efiicacy of it on their own spirits! 
^tnor est pondus animi; Love is that weight whereby 
a soul is carried towards the object which ft loves, and 
resteth in it as its proper centre. Those vvho are ac- 
quainted with this noble passion even in its wanderings 



A SMALl. NUKBBB SAVED. 145 

and deviatioiui from its proper object, when it is wholly 
fixed on some silly creature like ourselves: these, I say, 
do know what mighty efiects it is wont to produce on 
the souls where it prevaileth; how it makes them almost , 
forget their own interest, and only mind tliat of another; 
how careful they are of every thing that may please or 
advantage the person, and afraid to ofllend them; what 
delight they have in their conversation, and how hardly 
they endurd to be absent from them. See Aerefore if 
thou iindest any thing answerable to these effects of 
love, in the affection thou pretendest imto God. Are 
his glory and honour the dearest of all things unto thee; 
and wouldst thou rather hear thyself and all thy friends 
reviled, than his holy name blasphemed? Is it thy 
greatest care and bnsmess to please him, and art thoa 
watchful against every sin? Is there nothing in the 
world 80 dear unto thee, but thou wouldst part with 
for his sake; and still desirest he should do his own will 
rather than thine? Is nothing so delightful as to con- 
verse "with him? And doth every thing seem burden* 
some which detains thee long from him? If we would 
examine ourselves by these measures, I fear most of us 
would find our confidence built on a sand^ foundation. 
Perhaps you will tell me, that though thmgs be not so 
well at present; though you have not yet attained these 
endowments that are necessary to fit you for heaven, 
nor have indeed begun to endeavour afler them: yet 
hereafler you hope all shall be well ; you will repent and 
amend once before you die. But consider, I beseech 
yon, my brethren, what it is that you say. When 
think you that this promised reformation shall begin? 
Some two or three years aAer this, when you luive 
pleased yourselves, and indulged your lusts a little more? 
But what assurance have yon to live so long? Are not 
your neighbours dropping down every day about you, 
who expected death as little as you? And suppose yon 
live, what greater probability is there of your reforma- 
tion at that time than now? Had ypu not the same 
thoughts and resolutions several years ago, which yet 
have taken no effect at all? Will yon not have t\» same 
13' 



14€ . THAT THERE ARE RUT 

tem|ftiftions and mares? Will your lusts be more eaail j 
overcome, when streogthened by longer custom? Will 
it be more easy to retvrn after yon have wandered (Vir- 
ther oat of year way? Belike it is on a deathbed refient- 
ance yon have grounded yonr hopes; you resolve to part 
with yoor lasts when yon can keep them no longer, and 
aerve God Ahnighty with the dregs of your tjme. I 
ShaH not stand te tell yon what shrewd objections are 
proposed by some great and learned men against the 
validity and acceptableness of such a repentance: some 
of them perhaps have been too pereinptory and severe. 
True and unfeigned repentance, which includeth the 
sincere love of God, and resignation to him, will never 
come too late: the foundation of heaven is laid in the 
■ouls of those that have it. Bat if we consider what a 
great matter true repentance is, the shortness of the 
time, and hinderances of a distempered body, and the 
ordinary relapses of men who have promised fair on 
Bttch occasions, and have outlived that sickness they 
thonglit had been moKtaI;we cannot but acknowledge, 
that a deathbed repentance is seldom sincere; and that 
it 19 an unfit time to begin to %ht with principalities 
and powers, when perhaps we have not strength to 
turn ourselves on our beds; in d word, that of those 
who do thus delay and pat off the business, very few 
shall be saved. 

When we have said all that we can say, there are 
many will never be persuaded of the tmth of tliat 
which we have been proving. They cannot think H 
consistent with the goodness and mercy of God, that 
the greatest part of mankind should be damned: thej 
cannot imagine that heaven should be sach an empty 
and desolate place, and have so very few to inhabit it. 
But O what folly and madness is this, for nnful men to 
set rales unto the divine goodness, and draw conclu- 
aions from it so expressly contrary to what himself bath 
revealed! Is it not enough that he has tau^t us the 
way to be happy, and given his own Son to the death 
to make it possible; that he hath waited so long, and 
invited us so earoestly^ and so fre<jTiemly told as our 



A SMJLhh KUMBSm SAVJCD. 147 

hazard? If all this cannot prevail; if we be obstinate!/ 
resolved to continue wicked and miserable; if we 
despise his goodness, and turn all his grace unto wan- 
tonness; if we slight his threatenings, and will have 
none of his j-eproof; if we court damnation, and throw 
ourselves headlong into bell: how can we expect that 
he should interpose his 'omnipotency to pull us from- 
thcnce, and place us in heaven against our will? 
Those blessed regions are not like our new plantations, 
which are sometimes peopled with the worst sort ©f 
persons, lest they sWld be altogether desolate. Thvn 
are thousands of angels, and ten thousand times ten 
thousand that stand about the throne. We know little 
the extent of the universe, or what proportion the 
wicked or miserable part of rational beings doth carry 
to those that are happy and good: but this we know, 
that God was infinitely happy before he had made any 
creature; that he needeth not the society of the hofy an- 
gels, and will never admit that of wicked and irreligioM 
men. But, that I may haste towads a close. 

The doctr>ne we have been insisting on, is sad and 
lamentable; but the consideration of it may be very 
useful. It must needs touch any serious person with 
a great deal of grief and trouble, to behold a multitude 
of people conv^ened together, apd to think, that, before 
thirty or forty years, a littte more, or great deal less, 
they shall all go dovim unto the dark and sdent grave, 
and the greater, the far greater part of their souls shall 
be damned unto endless and unspeakable torments. But 
this may stir us up unto the greatest dvKgence an^ care, 
that we may do what we can towards the preventron 
of ^it. Were the sensA of this deeply engraven on all 
our minds, with what care and diligence, with what 
seriousness and z^al would roinisteni deal whh the peo- 
ple committed to their charge, that by any means they 
might save, some? How would parents, and husbands, 
and wives, employ all their diligence and industry, and 
make use of the most useful methods, for reelaiming 
their near relations, and pulling them from the brink 
of heU? ' Lastly, what. holy vk>leno« wtmld each of us 



14B THK DUTY AND PLEAftURB 

vae for nviiig eunelves from this common nun, and 
making oar calling and election sure? This, 1 say, is 
the vtae of what we have heen speaking: and may Al- 
mighty God so accompany it with his blessing and 
power, that it may be so liappily etTectQal to ao excel- 
lent a parpose. And onto this God, &c. 



TnS DUTY AND FLEASURE OF FRAISE AND 
THANKSGIVING. 



PSALM CVII. 15. 

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his f^ood- 
ness and for his wonderful works to the children 
of men! 

There is scarce any duty ofreligion more commonly 
neglected, or more slightly performed, than that of praise 
and thanksgiving. The sense of our wants pats as npon 
begging favours from God; and the consciousness of our 
sins constrains ns to deprecate his wrath. Thus interest 
and self-love send ns to our prayers. -But, alas! how 
small a part hath an ingenuoos gratitude in oar devotion? 
How seldom are we serious and hearty in oar acknowl- 
edgement of the divine bounty? The slender returns of 
this nature which we make, are many times a formal 
ceremony, a preface to usher in our petitions fo^ what 
•we want, rather than any sincere expression of our 
thankful resentment for what we have received. Far 
different was the temper of the holy Psalmist, whose 
affectionate acknowledgements of the goodness and 
bounty of God, in the cheerful celebration of his praise, 
make up a considerable part of his divine and ravishing 
songs. How often do we find him exciting and dispos- 
ing himself to join voice, hand and heart together in 
this holy and delightful employment? Bless the Lord, O 
my soul: aad all that ii within me, bless his holy name. 



or PRAIBB AND THANKBGITIirO* 149 

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed. I will sin^ 
and eive praise. Awake up, my glory, awake, psalCery 
and narp: I myself will awoke right early. And being 
conscioio of his own insaificiency for the work, he invit- 
eth others onto' it; calling in the whole creation to assist 
him: O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing onto the 
Lord all the earth. Give onto- the Lord, O ye kindreds 
of the people, give unto the Lor4 glory and strength. 
Praise ye the L^rd. Praise ye the Lord from the hea- 
vens: praise him in the heights. Praise him, ye son and 
moon: praise him, ail ye stars of light; mountains and 
all hills, fmitfnl trees and all cedars; beasts and all cat- 
tle, creeping things, and flying fowl. Bless the Lord, all 
his works in all places of lus dominion. Many snch 
figurative expressions occur, and allowance most be 
made for the poetical strain ; but in the text we have a 
proper and passionate wish. Oh that men would pzaiie 
the Lord, &c. 

O that men,'i^c. Man is the great priest of this low- 
er world, by whom all the homage and service of the 
other creatures is to be paid to their common lord and 
maker. God hath made him to have dommion over the 
works of his hand, he hath put alt things under his feet; 
9II sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field: the 
fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever pass- , 
eth through the paths of the seas. And the divine boun- 
ty, in maintaining of these poor creatures, redoundeth 
vnto him; and therefore it is highly reasonable that he 
should pay the tribute of praise for them, who are not 
capable to know their dependence on God, or their ob- 
ligations unto him. The young lions are said to roar 
and seek their meat from God. The young ravens do cry 
unto him. But these are only the complaints of languish- 
ing nature heard and relieved by the God of nature; but 
not directly and particulariy addressed to him. Man 
alone is capable to entertain communion with God, to 
know his goodness, and to celebrate his praise, 

O that men would praise the Lord, Praise is the 
acknowledgement of the goodness and excellency of a 
perMn: and though the d^ire of -it, in us who have no- 
13* 



im 






n 



2K» jr iB 



•— - i xn=i:. 



PRAISS AND THANKSGIVING. 161 

' •> bronffht forth iuto the worid; by him they 

cd with provision suitable for them: These 

|)on thee (sAitfa the FsaUnist) : that thou mayst 

I their meat in due season. That then givest 

(^y gather: thou openest thine hand, they are 

th good. But here, to 'excite us to thankAd- 

10 makes choice of an uwtance wherein we ow- 

are more nearly concerned; and exhorteth to 

the Lord for his wonderful works to the children 

*n. If the goodness of God to the holy angels be 

•' our reach, and his bounty to the inferior creatures 

. ('low our notice; yet sure we must be infinitely dull 

.ve do not obsenre his dealings with ourselves and 

'>(". of our kind. As our interest maketh us more 

...sible of this, so gratitude doth oblige us to a more 

, 1 1 icnlar acknowledgement of it. 

TIius you hare the meaning and importance of the 

'xt. I know not how we can better employ the rest of 

. lie time, than by suggesting to your meditations particu- 

!nr instances of this goodness, and of his wonderful works 

to the children of men. 

Let us then reflect on the works both of creation and 
providence. Let us consider in what a goodly and well- 
furnished worid he. hath placed us, how he hath stretch- 
ed out the ^(^n^n^as a curtain over our heads, and 
therein hath jj^.jk tabernacle for the son; which, as an 
universal lam^'enlightcneth all the inhabitants of the 
earth. Ilis going forth is from the end of the heaven, his 
circuit to the ends thereof; and there is nothing hid from 
his heat. In the morning he ariseth and maketh the 
darkness flee before him, and discovereth all the beauty 
and lustre of things. And truly the light is sweet, and a 
pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. Nor 
is it less useful and advantageous for directing our ways, 
and ordering our several employments: Man goeth forth 
to his work, and to his labour until the evening. He 
maketh darkness, and it is night. The curtams are 
drawn and all things hushed into silence, that man may 
enjoy the more quiet repose: and yet, to lessen the hor- 
ror of darkness, and lighten such as ore obliged to travel 



152 THE DITTT AND PLEAlVRB 

in the night, while the sun 10 cnlightenhag another part 
of the world, we have the moon and stars to supply hia 
room. O give thanks unto the Uird, for he is good: 
for his mercy endareth for ever. To him that by witi- 
dom made the heavens; for lus, &c. The moon and 
stars to rule by night; for his, &c. 

Again, how wouderfully bath he famished this lower 
world for our maintenance and accommodation! The 
heaven, even the heaven of heavens are the Lord's: but 
the earth htith he given to the children of men. He 
hath made us to have dominion over all the works of his 
hands; he hath put all things under our feet: all sheep 
and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field: the fowl of 
the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth 
through the paths of the seas. By the art and industry 
of man the swiftest fowls are caught; the fiercest crea- 
tures are tamed; the strongest beasts are overcome, and 
all made serviceable unto him. The horse helpeth our 
journey both with speed and ease, the oxen labour the 
ground for us; sheep afford us meat and clothes: from the 
bowels of the earth we dig fuels, metals, and stones; 
which are still the more plentiful, as they are useful and 
advantageous to us. lliose stones which serve for build- 
ing, are almost everywhere ready at hand; whereas 
rabies and diamonds, and other such glistering trifles, are 
found but in a. few places of the world, and gotten with a 
great deal of toil. And to what hardship should all sort ' 
of artificers be put, if iron were as scanty as gold? The 
surface of the earth yieldeth grass for the cattle, and herb 
for the service of man; and wine that ra&keth ^lad the 
heart of man, and bread which strengtheneth his heart. 
These it afTordeth unto us from time to time; and, while 
we are spending the productions of one year, God is pro- 
viding for us against another. There is no small variety 
of seasons and influences, which concur for the produc- 
tion of that corn, which we murmar so much for when 
we want, and value so little when it doth abound. The 
winter-cold must temper and prepare the earth: the gen- 
tle spring must cherish and foment the seed; vapours 
must be raised, and condensed into clouds, and thea 



. \ 



or P^AISS ANiy THANKSOITIKO. 153 

squeezed oat and siiled into little drops, to water and re- 
fresh the ground; and then the summer heat most ripen 
and digest the com before it be fit to be cut down. Thou 
visitest the earth (saith the Psalmist, )and waterest it: thoa 
greatly enrichest it with the river of God which is full of 
water: thou preparest them coro) when thou hast so pro- 
Tided for it Thou waterest the ridges thereof abund- 
antly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it 
soft with showers; thou blesseth the springing thereof. 
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and all thy 
paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the 
wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every nde. The 
pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are cov- 
ered over with com; they shout for joy, they also sing. 
O Lord how wonderful are thy works! in wisdom hast 
thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So 
is the great and wide sea, wherein are thmM creeping 
innumerable, both small and great fishes. There go the 
ships, those great engines of traffio and commerce, 
whereby every country is easily furnished with the 
productions of another^ And indeed it is a wonderful 
and astonishing contrivance of nature, that men should 
be easily transported to the remotest places in such 
floating houses, and carried (so to speak) upon the 
wings of the wind; that they should be able to find out 
their way in ||^'widest ocean and darkest night, by the 
direction of a fr^inbling needle, and the unaccountable 
influence of a sorry stone. They that go down to the 
sea in ships, that do business in great waters: these see 
the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. 
For he commandeth, and miseth the stormy wind, 
which lifleth up the waves thereof. They mount up to 
the heaven, they go down again to the depths, their 
soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, 
and stagger like a dranken man, and are at their wits 
end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and 
he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketli 
the storm a cahn, so that the waves thereof are still. 
Then are they glad, because they are quiet; so lie bring- 
eth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men, &c. 



154 THE DVTY AND TLEASURS 

Bat now we are faJketi unawares from the woiks of 
creation to those of providence. Indeed it is hard to 
keep to any exact method ia a subject so copious, 
where one thing doth obtnide itself npon ns before we 
have done with another. Let ns call back our thoughts 
to a more orderly consideration of that bountiful provi- 
dence which followeth us from time to time. We are 
infinitely indebted to the divine goodness before we see 
the light of the worM. He poureth ns out as milk, and 
crudleth ns like cheese. He clothes ns with skin and 
flesh, and fenceth us with bones and sinews. He grant- 
eth us life and favour, and his visitation preserveUi our 
spirit This b so entirely the woric of God, that the pa- 
rents do not so much as undentand how it is performed; 
for who knoweth the way of the spirit, (how it cometh 
to enli^ten a piece of matter,) or bow the bones do 
grow in the womb of her that is with child? I will praise 
thee, (saith the Psalmist,) for I am fearfully and won- 
derfully made: marvellous are thy works, and that my 
soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid 
from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously- 
wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did 
see my substance yet being unperfect, and in thy book 
all my members were written, which in continuance 
were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them. 
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! 
how great is the sum of them! &c. Nine months ordina- 
rily pass in the forming of this curious and wonderful 
piece, before it be exposed to the view of the worid; 
and then the prisoner is released from that narrow con- 
finement, and the mother and the child are delivered 
together. The mother fofgetteth her anguish and pangs, 
for joy that a man child is bom into tSs world. The 
poor infant is naked and weak, ready to expire for hun- 
ger and cold, unable to do any thing for itself but weep 
and cry: but he that brought it into the world, hath al- 
ready provided for its sustentation in it. The mother^s 
breasts are filled with a wholenome and delicious liquor, 
which faileth not from time to time, but is iavktibly 



or PRAISE AND THANiCSGlTING. 155 

snpplied, like the widow of Sarepta's oil, till the child 
become capable of strooger food. 

But it was not enough that mothers shoold be ena- 
bled to sustain their infants, unless they had been also 
powerfully inclined unto it; and, therefore, God hath 
implanted those bowels of kindness and compassion, 
which, prompts them to the most tender and ailectionate 
care, and makes them as ready to help their children's 
necessities as their own: which, though it do hardly de- 
serve the name of a virtue, being common to them with 
the brutes, for even the seamonstera draw out the 
breasts, and give suck to thmr young; yet certainly it in 
an efiect of the divine wisdom, that infants may not wajot 
those succouip which would never have been so effectu- 
ally secured to them by a law. Meanwhile, the poor 
infant is so weak, and so unable to endure the least 
violence,»and withal exposed to so innnmeratde dangers, 
that the mother's solicitude and care would be to little 
purpose, if it were not preserved by a higher and invis- 
ible power, which watcheth for its safety when the 
mother and nurse are fast asleep, and keeps it from be- 
ing overlaid. 

As we grow in years, our necessities multiply, and 
dangers increase rather than diminish; and we are still 
more and more obliged to God for the supply of the 
one, and our preservation from the other. We think 
perhaps we have now set up for ourselves, and can pro- 
vide what is necessary by our own industry, and keep 
ourselves out of barm's way. But there cannot be a 
more foolish and unreasonable thought. There needeth 
but a little consideration^to undeceive us. All that we 
project and do for ourselves, dependeth on the integrity 
of our faculties, and the soundness of our reason; which 
is a happiness we can never secure unto ourselves. 1 
choose this instance the rather, because it is a mercy 
invaluable in itself, and I fear very seldom considered 
by U8. O what an unspeakable blessing it is, that we 
are preserved in our right wits; that we are not roaring 
in some bedlam, or running furiously up and down the 



166 THE DUTY AND PLEASTTRS 

Rtreetfi; nor have onr spirits rank into silliness <or stupid- 
ity, which would make every little child to mock and 
deride us! It is possible enough that this should befall 
the wisest and most steadfast of us all. A stroke on the 
head, a fbw more degrees of heat in -the blood, or agi- 
tation of the vital spirits, were enough to do the busi- 
ness. So weak and mutable creatures are we; so small 
is the distance between a wise man and a fool. Next to 
the use of our reason, how much are we indebted to the 
divine goodness for our health and welfare! These bod- 
ies of ours are made np of so various parts, and withal 
80 nice and delicate, that the least thing in the world is 
enough to entangle and disorder them. A drop of hu- 
mour, or a grain of sand, will sometimes occasion s^ch 
anguish and pain, as render a man insensible of all the 
comforts he enjoy eth in the world: and they who under- 
stand any thing of the human body, will justly wonder 
that all the parts are kept in order for an hour. What 
a merc^ ought we therefore to account it, to find our- 
selves m health and vigour; no aching in bur head, no 
noisomeness in our stomach, no fever in the blood, none 
of the humours vitiated, none of those innumerable con- 
duits broken which convey them, but all the organs 
performing their proper functions, and a sprightly vigour 
possessing every part! How much are we indebted to 
that providence which preserveth us from falls and 
bruises, and keepeth all our bones, so that none of them 
is broken; which watcheth over us when we are not 
able to care for ourselves! What a blessing is it to en- 
joy the repose of the night; that we are not wearied with 
endless tossings and rollings, nor scared with dreams, 
and terrified with visions, whereof holy Job complains; 
, that we are protected from fire and violence, from evil 
spirits, and from evil men! I will both lay me down in 
peace, and sleep; for thou. Lord,* only makest me to 
dwell in safety. And what shall we say of our food 
and raiment, of our houses and manifold accommoda- 
tions, of the kindness of our neighbours, and the love of 
onr friends, of all the means of our subsistence, and all the 
comforts of our lives? We are made up, as it were, of 



OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING. 157 

a great many several pieces, have such a variety of in- 
terests and enjoyments concnrring to our present happi- 
ness, that it is an unspeakable goodness which coutinu- 
eth them all with us. from time to tune: that wlten we 
awake in the morning we should find our minds clear, ' 
oar bodies well, our^iouse safe, all our friends in health, 
and all our in!.erests secure. He is a wall of fire about 
US, and about all that we have, by night and by day; * 
and his mercies are new every morning. I cannot stand 
to speak of all those, more public mercies, the peace an4 
tranquillity of kingdoms, and all the happy effects of 
society and government. I shall only say, that it is a 
signal instance of the divine wisdom and goodness in 
the government of the world, that such a vast number 
of persons only actuated by s^lf-love, should all conspire 
for the public interest, and so eminently lidvance one 
another's welfare; that magistrates should so willingly 
undergo the trouble of government, and a heady smd 
inconsiderate multitude should be commanded and over- 
awed by a siqgle man. Certainly it can be no other but 
that same God who stiUeth the noise of the waves, that 
can prevent or compose the tumults of the people. 

Hitherto we have considered those instances of the 
divine bounty which relate to our temporal concerns. 
Bat sure we were made for some higher and more ex- 
cellent end, than to pass a few months or years in this 
world, to eat, drink, sleep, and die. God hath designed 
US for a more lasting and durable life, and hath accor- 
dingly made greater provisions for it. He taketh care 
of our very ^dies; but hath an infinitely greater regard 
' to those spiritual and immortal substances which he hath 
breathed into us. And here in all reason we ought to 
begin with that great and fundamental mercy, which is 
the root and spring of all his other mercies towards the 
sonls of men; I mean the incarnation and the death of 
his only begotten Son. But, alas! where are those 
affections wherewith that should be spoken and heard? 
Our dnlness makes me idmost afraid to meddle with so 
high a theme. That the eternal Son of God, the Wis- 
dom of the Father, the maker and lord of all things, 
14 



15'8 ' THfi D0TT- AND PLEASURE 

fihoald clothe himself with the infirmities i>f the human 
nature, and come down from the habitation of his glory, 
and take up his abode among the wretched and rebeU 
lioud children of men, to recla'im them from theur wick- 
edness and folly, and reduce them to their duty and their 
happiness; that he should have gone up and down in the 
world upwards of thirty years in poverty, affliction, and 
contempt, doing good and suffering evil, scattering bles- 
sings and enduring injuries wherever he came; and at"^ 
last should have yielded up his life in unspeakable an^ 
guish and torment, to be a propitiation for our sins; 
these are matters which ought never to be spoken or - 
heard, without losing ourselves (as it were) in a rapture 
of admimtion, gratitude, and love. O the breadth, 
length, depth, and height of that love whi^h passeth all 
knowledge; which made God assume our nature, that 
we might become partakers of his! It is true, all that 
our Saviour hath done and suffered, proveth ineffectual 
to the greatest part of mankind. But sure they have 
themselves to blame. God hath both said and sworn, 
that he hath no pleasure in the death of sinneis, but 
would have them rather repent and live. And indeed 
this way of dealing with them, doth sufficiently declare 
the same. With what long-suffering patience doth he 
wait for their repentance! what pains doth he take to 
reclaim them! 

It is an astonishing thing to consicler what indignities 
and affronts are every day done unto that infinite Maj- 
esty by sinful dust and ashes, and that he doth not 
avenge himself by their total overthrow; that they 
should violate his law, and despise his threatenings, and 
defy him, as it were, unto his very face, and -yet he 
should pity and spare them, and wait to be gracious 
unto them. Were the government of the world com- 
mitted to the meekest person on the face of the earth, 
he would never endure the outrages which are commit- 
ted against heaven, but would presently lose all his 
patience, and turn the whole frame into niin. But God 
is love. His thoughts and ways are not like those of 
men; but as the heavens are higher than the earth, so 



or PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING. 159 

are Iim thoaghts and ways higher than outs. And when 
the obstinate wickedness of sinful creatures doth, as it 
were, force and extort punishment from his hands, 
what relnctancy/ what nnwilKngness doth he express to 
this work; this strange and unnatural work, as himself 
seems to term it? How shall I give thee up^ O Ephraiui? 
How sliall I give thee up? O that my people had heark- 
ened unto me, that Israel had known my ways! O Jeru- 
salem! O Jerusalem! &e. 

Again, as God waiteth patiently for our reformation, 
so he doth make use of many methods and means to 
bring us unto it. He hath published the i;ospel through 
the world, and brought down the knowledge of it to our 
days, in spite of all the opposition of devils and men. 
He hath establi.<4hed a church, and appointed a whole or» 
der of men, whose peculiar calling and business in the 
world is, to takecare of peoples* souls, to instruct tlicni 
in the way to heaven, and as ambassadors in Christ's 
stead, to beseech them to be reconciled unto God. 
These are s6me of his common mercies: but who can ex- 
press that favour and love which he showeth to his own, 
to those blessed persons whom he chooseth, and caaseth 
to approach unto himself, when he rescueth them from 
the vanity of their conversation, and that pollution which 
is in the world through lust; when he mouldetli their 
souls unto a conformity with himself, and stampeth his 
blessed image upon them; wlien he visiteth them with 
his Holy Spirit, and filleth their heart with those hidden 
pleasures which none can understand but those that feci 
them ! A stranger intem/ieddleth not with their joy. A nd 
yet even these are but the earnest of that great felicity 
for which he hath designed us; those joys that are at bin 
right hand, those pleasures that endure for evermore. 
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor can it enter into 
the heart of man to conceive wh;it (lod hath prepared 
for those that love him. And it doth not yet appciir 
what we shall be. Meanwhile, those small and imper- 
fect discoveries which are made to us in the holy Scrip- 
tures of that inconceivable happiness, arfe euougli to 
overwhelm us with admiration and wonder. To think 



160 THE DUTT AND PLEASURE, &C. 

thiit the blessed day is coining, when we Rhall be loos- 
ed from these dull and Inmpish bodies; those sinks of 
corruprion, diseases, and paias; those prisons and dan- 
, geons of our heaven-bom souls; and, being clothed 
with robes of light and glory, shall get above the clouds, 
and all those storms and tempests which are. here be- 
low; and be carried into those blessed regions of calmness 
and serenity, of peace and joy, of happiness and secu- 
rity ; When we shall come unto the innumerable com- 
pany of angels, and the general assenibly of the church 
of the first-born, and the spirits of just men made' 
perfect; and to Jesus the mediator of the hew covenant; 
there to behold the glory of God, and all the splendour 
of the court of heaven ; to view, and contemplate that 
infinite power which created the world, that unsearch- 
able wisdom which ordereth alt things, that unspeakable 
goodness which exerteth both; nay, sa>to see God as to 
become like Unto him; and beholding with open face 
the glory of the Lord, to be chaiiged into the saipe 
image, from glory to glory: to receive the continual 
illapses of the divine goodness, and the constant expres- 
sions of his favotir and love; and to have our own souls 
melted and dissolved into the flames of reciprocal afibc- 
tion, and that fire fed and nourished by uninterrupted ■ 
enjoyments: in a word, to be continually transported 
into ecstasies and raptures, and swallowed up in the 
embraces of eternal sweetness, and to be lost, as it 
were, in t^e source and fountain of happiness and 
bliss! Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowl- 
edge of him? or the son of man, that thou makest 
such account of him? and that thou shonldst set thme 
heart so much upon him? Oh that men would therefore 
praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful 
works to the children of men! O give thanks unto the 
Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth 
and for evermore. Anieu. 



ON T«IS NATIVITY. 1^1 



ON THE NATIVITY OF OUR SAVIOUR. 



PSALM II. 11. the latter part. 
Rejoice toith trembling. 
The observation of festivals being one of those balhi 
of contention which have been towed so hotly in the 
religions debates of this unhappy age, it may perhaps 
be expected, that we should begin with a vmdication 
of this day's solemnity from the exceptions that are 
wont to be taken against it; and that the one half of 
onr sermon should be spent^ in apology for the other. 
But I hope we may well enough spare the pains, and 
employ tpe time to better purpose. For you who are 
esaembled in this house are persuaded, I trust, of the 
lawfulness of your own practice; and we cannot direct 
our speech to those that are absent from it. And really 
it were to be wished, that there were less noise and 
debate about matters of this nature; and that, being 
agreed in the more substantial parts of religion, we did 
aU charitably acquiesce in that excellent advice of the 
Apostle, wmch he giveth in a parallel instance. Let not 
him that eateth, despise him that eateth not; and let 
not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth. And 
th^n, as we shall not abate any thing of that love and 
reverence which we owe to the piety and truth of those 
who differ from us in so small matters, so we might 
hope they would not be hasty to condemn us, if In com* 
pliance with the practice of the ancient church, and the 
present constitution of our own, we take the occasion 
of this season, with thankfulness, to remember the 
greatest benefit that ever was conferred on the children 
of men, and at this time perform tliat service which can 
never be unseasonable. However, I am confident it is 
both more hard and necessary to rectify and amend the 
14* 



mr. 



168 ON THE NATIVITY 

abases of this solemnity » than to justify the right obser* 
Tation of it; to vindicate it from the dishonoar of some 
of its pretended friends, than to defend it from all the 
assaults of aggressors: and accordingly we shall make 
it our work to persuade you to such a deportment oq 
this festival, as may best suit with the holy life and re- 
ligion of that person whose nativity we commemorate. 
The text which we have chosen may seem somewhat 
general, but yet it is easily applicable to the present oc- 
casion; especially if we remember, that it is an inference 
drawn from a prophecy, which, though it had its lite- 
ral completion in the establishment of David's throne, 
yet it was, in a mystical and a more sublime sense, ful- 
filled in the incarnation and kingdom of the Messiah; 
as the Apostle in several places informeth us: For to 
which of the angels hath he said at sCaj time. Thou art 
my Son, this day have I begotten thee? Whence he in- 
fers, that the angels themselves are inferior to Christ, of 
whom this was spoken. The only difficulty of the words 
lieth in the strange conjunction of these passions, joy, 
Hxid extreme fear, which trembling seems to import; 
but this will be more fully cleared in the sequel of our 
discoigse. Meanwhile ye may observe, that both these 
words, fear and trembling, are used in the text, and, 
in the scripture-phrase, usually import humility, and 
diligence; solicitude and caution, and the fear of dis- 
pleasing, as being the most proper qualifications of oar 
obedience, either to God or man. Thus are we com- 
manded to work out our salvation with fear and trem* 
bHng; and servants are commanded to obey their mas- 
ters with fear and trembling: so the Corinthians are 
said to have received Titus, being sent to them, with 
fear and trembling; and Chrysostom saith of the ancelsy 
that they assist with fear and trembling. All which 
places do import such care and diligence, as are very 
necessary and reconcilable to cheerful service. Rev- 
erence, and fear to offend, will be happily joined with 
holy joy in the performance of our duty; there being 
nothing more pleasant, than to serve him diligently 
whom we revercnse, and fear to displease. Thu» 



ON THE NATIVITY. 168 

nnich for explication^ 'pM text is too short to be di- 
vided into miuiy parts, bot doth natnnUly fall asunder 
into two; the former exciting and enconraging our joy; 
the latter qualifying and moderatmg the same. First, 
we are allowed, yea, and commanded to rejoice; and 
then we are caationed to do it with trembling. And 
accordingly onr discourse shall rim in these two heads; 
first, to exhort you to cheerfulness and joy ; then to set 
the right bounds and limits to the same: and, having 
done this in general, we shall endeavour to draw both 
these home to- the present occasion. 

To begin with the first: Joy and cheerfulness are so 
far from being inconsistent with religion, when rightly 
ordered, that we find them many times allowed and re- 
commended in Scripture. Thus in the last verse of the 
32d Psalm I Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye right- 
eous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. 
And in verse 1. of ^e next Psalm, Rejoice in the Lord, 
Oye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright. So 
Psal. Ixviii. 8. Let the righteous be glad: let them re- 
joice before the Lord, yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. 
Psal. cxlix. 5. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let 
them sing aloud upon their beds. And, that yon may 
not think this a liberty proper only for the fbrnier di»- 
pensations, but that Christians are obliged to greater s^ 
verity,' the Apostle doth no less than three times give 
this admonition to the Philippians,^ Rejoice in the Lord; 
Rejoice always in the Lord; yea, I say. Rejoice. In re- 
lation to this perhaps it was, that tlie old hermit Palladi- 
ns, having five hundred scholars, used never to dismiss 
them without this admonition, My friends, be cheerful; 
forget not, I beseech you, to be cheerful. This was the 
constant lecture he repeated, as often as St. John was 
wont to do these wonts, My little children, love, one 
another. 

None of our natural inclinations were made in vain; 
and joy is neither a useless nor a small pai»ion; but, if 
rightly ordered, may become an eminent exercise of re- 
ligion, as proper a concomitant of thankfulness, as sor- 
row of repentance. Our devotion never soareth higher. 



164 ON THE NATIVITY. 

than when it is carried on the wings of joy and love^ 
when otir seals are filled with the sense of his goodness, 
apd we heartily applaud the Ilallelnjahs of the blessed 
spirits, and all the praises of the creatures. And as joy 
is an excellent instrument of devotion, so a constant se-« 
renity and cheerfulness of spirit is a fit disposition for 
our other duties, i should be loth to countenance any 
levity or dbsolution of spirit; and I hope, before we have 
done, we snail leave no ground to suspect such a design: 
and yet I would not have you imagine that innocence 
and severity are inseparable companions, or that' a free 
and cheerful countenance is a certain sign of an ill mind, 
or that men ought always to be sad, under the notion of 
beinj; serious. I would not have you in love with a 
studied face^ nor think it a crime to laugh, or scrupulons- 
ly to refuse such innocent and ingenious divertisement^ 
as you find useful to^refresh your spirits, and preserve 
their alacrity: for cheerfulness enlightens the mind, and 
encourages the heart, and raiseth the soul, as it were to " 
breathe in a purer air. It misbecomes none but the 
wicked, in whom it is commonly a light mirth and fool- 
ish jollity. As a curious dress may set off a handsome 
face, which yet will render those who are ugly, more ill- 
favoured; so doth cheerfulness exceedingly become good 
souL^; in bad men it is most ridiculous. On the other 
liimd, a sad and sullen humour, a dumpish, morose, and 
melancholy disposition, is so far from being commenda- 
ble, that at best it must be looked upon as an infirmity 
and weakness in the best of those in whom it resideth ; 
and if purposely affected or cherished, may deserve a 
severe censure; being dishonourable to God, injurious 
to our neighbours, prejudicial to ourselves, and a thing 
highly unreasonable. First, it is di^^honourable to God, 
on whom we profess to depend, and who, through our 
moroseness, may be mistaken for a hard and severe mas- 
ter. If you should observe any man*s servants to be al- 
ways sad and dejected, and could not guess at the reason 
of it, you would be ready to conclude, that they were ill 
treated at home, and served an unkind, tyrannical person. 
And therefore, if we have any regard to the honour of 



ON THE NATiyixy. 165 

onr-inaster, we ought carefully to avoid any thing, from 
which those that are strangers to him, are apt to take oc- 
casion to entertain harsh, and disadvantageous thoughts 
of him and^ his' service. Again, it is injurious to our 
neighbours; whom it doth deprive of the comforts of soci- 
ety, and the innocent delights of more cheerful converse; 
it being better to be confined to solitude than obliged to 
live with those who are always sullen. Th^ are not 
like to be good company to others, who are so bad com- 
pany to themselves; nor will they easily endure to see 
others cheerful and pleasant, when they cannot allow 
themselves so much as to smile. Peevishness and anger 
are the ordinary companions of melancholy; and it is 
hard for servants and friends to please them in any thing 
who are accustomed to sadness and discontent. But this 
is not all: there is a greater mischief, in the matter; for 
they who are strangers to religion, and observe them 
who pretend to it to be always sad and melancholy, are 
thereby deterred from the study of piety, as that which 
would imbitter their lives, and deprive them of all their 
comforts;. and they are apt to imagine, that if once they 
should undertake a course of godliness, they should nev- 
er after enjoy a pleasant hour, hut, by a melancholy hu- 
mour, and austere behaviour, become a bnrdep to them- 
selves, and a burden to all about them. Then they will 
think devotion a comfortless employment, whcti they 
see liien come from retirements with sad and heavy 
looks, morose and untowardly deportment: whereas 
really the spirit of religion is in itself most amiable and 
most lovely, most cheerful, free and ingenuous; and it is 
only men's weakness, and not their piety, that ought to - 
be blamed for any such disorder in their minds. 

Again, melancholy and sadness is prejudicial to our- 
selves, being an enemy to nature, and hurtful to bodily 
constitutions, especially when it grows prevalent and 
extreme; and therefore men are obliged to be cheerful 
for the same reasons they take physic, and to guard 
against iuelancholy as we would do against a disease. 
Besides, it is very troublesome to our spirits, and will 
make u» amaii even wlien we know iioC why. Al- 



165 Olf THE NATIVITY. 

thou*;h melancholy mnsinva niay be a very (lelightful 
ontertainnient to the niiDd;yet, in a little time, they 
grow to be very tronbtemiue. Contrary to the nature 
of other births, they plea«e x» mnch while we bring 
them forth, hot, prove a roiaenible torment when they 
are bom. But, which \a mnch worae, it doth esceed- 
ingly indispotie for the duties of religion. The eyes 
are not more darkened with fumes and vaponra, than 
the undeitfttanding is when those sullen exhalations gath- 
er about US. Clogs arc not a greater impediment to the 
feet, than this hunionr to the motions of the soul. It 
inclines not only to thinJc worse of ourselves and our 
condition than we need, but to do wonse than otlier- 
wise we shonld. It represents those things as exceed- 
ingly dilficnlt which may be done with ease, and tliose 
impossible which have any considerable difficulty. It 
<}nite di.«pirits us, and will not sufier us to attempt any 
thing, because we imagine we xan do nothing. Al- 
though, perhaps, in a beat it may push ns forward, yet 
it suddenly stays us, and makes as think we cannot go. 
If it catcheth lire, it makes us wild; and, when it hath 
fpciit that flame, it leaves us dead and dumpish. 

Lastly, sadness and dejection of spirit in Christians, 
is a thing very unreasonable: for why should they be sad 
and heavy who serve so good a master, and who are 
asmri ' of an infinite reward for their faithful service? 
If the favour of a prince, or hopes of some earthly ad- 
vantage, can support and cheer the minds of men; why 
should not religious people, who have the friendship of 
God, and so niuny divine blessings in present possession, 
and the certain expectation of more and greater, cherish 
a perpetual joy, and ever be of good comfort; What 
should afflict them or cast tliem down? Is it worldly 
crosses or fears? They have not their portions in the 
things of this world: they are strangers and pilgrims on 
earth, and cannot in reason b6 much solicitous sibont 
their accommodation in an inn, which they are so short- 
ly to leave. Besides, where is he that doth not enjoy 
more and greater comforts than those he is deprived and 
Btand^ in need of? Why then shouldst thou not be moro 



ON THE NATIVITY. 167 

glad of what fhou hast, than sorry for what thou want- 
est? Perhaps thou hast lost part of thy fortune, but yet 
enjoyest more than many who live happily enough not- 
withstanding. Thou wantest money, but' thou hast thy 
health. If that be impaired, thou enjoyest the use of 
thy reason, which is infinitely more valuable. Thou 
hast lost a friend, but perhaps thou hast many behind; 
And shall tliat loss do more to make thee sad, than all 
the rest to make thee cheerful? Or wilt thou, like a 
peevish child, throw all away, because something is. 
taken from thee? I say not that moderate sadness Is 
blamable on such occasions, but that our grief ought not 
to be indulged till it grows habitual. And sure what- 
ever our crosses and our fears be, we ought cheerfully to 
acquiesce in a constant dependence on die divine prov- 
idence; having thaf infinite wisdom, and goodness, 
fmd power, which made and doth govern the world, to 
care for us, and the promise of God for all those things 
which he sees necessary or convenient for us. What 
is it then that should deject us, and deprive us of that 
joy which the text alloweth and commendeth? Is it 
the sense of our weakness, and the fear of missing that 
eternal happiness for which we were created? If thou 
be altogether graceless, such thoughts would seldom 
trouble thee; but if thou be really concerned in re- 
ligion, and have a mind to heaven in earnest; if thoa 
hast begun thy race, and art pressing forward to obtain 
thy prize, thou hast Do reason to be discouraged or cast 
down. God loves thee better than thou dost either 
him or thyself; and holiness ia the genuine issue of 
the divine nature: and therefore he cannot hide his face 
from it, he cannot desert it as an outcast thing in the 
world; nay, he is ready to cherish and assist it, and 
perfect that gracious work which himself hath begun. 
Away then with groundless fears and despondent 
thoughts, which dishonour God, and weaken your own 
hands. Encourage yourselves w^ith the assurance of the 
divine assistance, and cheerfully perform that which 
is incumbent upon yourselves. Check the sadness of 
your spirits, and chide yourself into better temper; as 



168 ON THK KATITITT. 

David did, in Psai. xlii. and xliii. He took up his 
drooping mind, with this encouragement. Why art thou 
east down, O my soal? &c. 

But perhaps yea will tell me, that cheerful temper 
which we recommend, is very improper for these bad 
times wherein we live: and, though we had no trouble 
on account of our own intercuts, the miseries of others 
might oblige us to sadness, and blunt and damp all our 
joys. I answer, compassion indeed is a Christian vir- 
tue, and a cood man will be concerned in the miseries 
under which he sees his neighbour groan, and be ready 
to assist him with his counsel, his labour, or his purse, 
if that will relieve him. But he is not obliged to sufier 
the calamities of others to sink so deeply into his spirit, 
as to disturb the peace and harmony of his soul, else, 
since the world is a great hospital of misery, and we see 
wellnigh as many miserable persons as men, we must 
needs draw as much misery on ourselves, as all theirs 
doth amount to, and so deserve more compassion than 
any of them. Again, if we partake of the miseries of 
others, so. may we in their happiness; if we ought to 
mourn with those that mourn, so we ought to rejoice 
with them that rejoice. And though misery is far more 
frequent in the world than happiness, this can be no 
measure for the whole creation; and for any thing we 
know, for one sinfhl wretch, there may be t^i thousand 
holy and happy i^irits. However, all the misery in the 
world carries no proportion to the mfinite happiness of 
Almighty God, which ought to be the highest object of 
our joy, and may drown and swallow up all the excuses 
or pretences of excessive sadness. We ought to r^oice 
in God, not only that he is oar God, but that he is God 
infinitely hol^, and infinitely happy; that he b self-bless- 
ed, glorious m all things; and that his enemies cannot 
reach nor unsettle his throne. This is the most certain, 
and constant, the most pure and heavenly joy. 

There remaineth yet one occasion of grief, which some 
may think enough to banish all joy from a Christian 
soul; and that is, the multitude of sins whereof we and 
others are guilty. And certainly, contrition, and zeal 



.^ i 



ON T«B NATIVITY. 169 

for the hononr of God, are very necessary duties; yet 
we were not born only to mourn, nor is the lamenting 
of sin all we have to do in the world. We love to see 
a servant sensible of his fault, but would be ill-content 
if on that account he did nothing but Weep. Sadness in 
contrition is necessary to make our repentance serious, 
and sadness of zeal to testify our concernment in God's 
interest; but on neither of these accounts ought we to 
grieve without term or measure. As we ought to grieve 
that we have offended so gracious a God, so ought we 
to rejoice that the God whom we have offended is so 
gracious: and since the greatness of God's mercy is aa 
far above our sins, as the heavens are above the earth, 
our faith and joy in God's mercy oufht to he far above 
our sadness for our sins. Whereas the blasphemies and 
oppositions of God's enemies, by his wisdom and pow- 
er, shall turn to his glory ; our sadness for these oppo- 
sitions must end in joy, for that almighty power and 
sovereign glory, which the enmity of Satan, and the 
world, and the flesh, doth but make more conspicuous 
by pulling against it. 

By this time I hope it doth appear, that joy and cheer- 
fulness are more allowable in Christians, than some men 
perhaps are ready to imagine. I shall add no more to 
this purpose; but that it is the privilege of a holy and 
religious soul, that every thing he meets with may afford 
him occasion 'of joy. If he looks up to heaven, it puts 
him in mind of the mansions that are preparing for him; 
if on the earth, it rejoiceth him to think of his interest 
in Him who made and governs the same. If he con- 
siders the changes and revolutions of human afiairs, it 
satisfies him to remember, that an unerring providence 
doth overrule all their seeming disorders, and makes 
them all serve to great and glorious designs. If he live 
long, he is glad of the large time he is allowed to. do 
his work in; and, if he die soon, he is glad that he is so 
soon come to the end and reward of his work. If he 
be richer than bis neighbours, he rejoiceth in the op- 
portunity of obliging them; and, if they be richer than 
he, he rejoiceth that they have the plenty and splendour 
15 



170 OW THB NATIVITY. 

wbich riches aflford, and that he wants the care and 
temptations that attend them. As many miseries as he 
seetOy BO many argnments he hath to glorify God, and 
rejoice in his goodness, saying. Blessed be God that I 
am not maimed like that begging soldier, nor frantic like 
that bedlamite, nor in prison like that bankrupt, nor like 
that thief in shackles, nor in perpetual trouble like that 
counsellor of state. 

But joy IS a passion so pleasing nnto nature, that most 
men are easily persuaded nnto it, those especially who 
haTe the least ground for it. And what we have said 
hitherto, may haTO the ill luck to be mistaken or wrested 
by profane persons, for the defence of their jollity and 
frolicksome mirth. But it should be consider^, that our 
exhortation to cheerfulness and joy presnpposeth men to 
be good and religions, and is addressed to them on that 
prasomption: lor we should never encourage men to re- 
joice and be cheerful, while they are at enmity with 
their maker, at feud with the infinite Majesty of heaven, 
whose least frown is enough to confound them. We 
"would not have men to dance on the brink of hell, nor 
wantonly exult in the way that leads to destruction. 
Another temper would better become their unb&ppy 
condition, and they ought to be thinking how a timely 
sorrow ma3r lay a sure foundation for a lasting joy. 
A^ain* the joy which we commend, is a quite different 
thuig from that levity and dissolution of spirit which 
some persons would cover under that name. We allow 
not that light airy temper that is inconsistent with.gra- 
▼ity and seriousness. AVe would not have a man's 
whole life become a sport, nor mirth to become hie 
whole employment. Of such laughter we may say, 
with the wise man, that it is mad; and of mirth, Wbiat 
doth it? The cheerfulhess we have been speaking of, 
must spring from the sense of the divine goodness, and 
the conscience of our sincerity in his service; though we 
are net to reluse the assistance of innocent acts to raise 
and recruit our natural spirits when they faint and fail 
within >is. Finally, that our cheerfulness and joy may be 
aUowaUe, it must be rightly tempered. Which leads 



■ lL^JUM'.- " J iT -l 



ON THE NATIVITY. 171 

me to the second pait of the text; which if it do not 
check, it doth at leant mix and qaalify our joy: rejoice 
we may, but it miMt be with trembling. Trembling n a 
natural effect and sign of fear; and is here put for the 
thing signified. Now, fear may seem to be the most 
useless and unprofitable passion in the mind: it is that 
which presages mischief and anticipates our miseries, 
giving them a being before they had any, and troubling 
Hs with the apprehension of those evik which may 
never befall us, and hindering us to guard against many 
which we miglit have prevented: betraying those suc- 
cours which reason offereth, as the wise son of David 
.tells us. The historian, speakmg of the Penians, who 
ill their flight flung away their weapons of defence, add- 
eth this observation. Adeo timor ipsa auxilia rtfof^ 
midat: Such is the nature of fear, that it not only 
makes us flee from danger, but from those helps and 
succours which should keep- it off. But, as Alexander 
said of his fierce and stately horse, Qualem Uti equum 
perdunt, dum eo perimperiiiam uti neseiunt! What 
a brave horse is lost for want of skill to manage him! 
so we may say of fear, that they who would dischaige 
it, do lose a useful passion, not knowing how to order 
it. Fear, doubtless, is an excellent instrument, both of 
reason and of religion. And as all our passions, so 
especially fear, are as winds, which although they some* 
times drive us upon rocks, yet, rightly improved, may 
swell our sails, and carry us on to the haven where we 
would be. Hence we may find it so frequently com- 
manded in Scripture, and so profitably practised by wise 
and holy persons. The question then is. What kind of 
fear and trembling is enjoined here in the text? And, 
first, as for the object, certainly the wrath and displea- 
sure of God is the most proper and suitable object of our 
fear: it is this that we ought to look on as the greatest 
evil, and to shun with the greatest care. And tms fear, 
if rightly seated in our souls, will make us very watch- 
ful against the smallest sins, and muke us heartily sor- 
ry for the oflences of others. But though the* fear of 
God's displeasure be more excellent and useful, yet the 



nt OW THE WATIVITT. 

fear ofonr 9vvn misery is not to be condemned: it is use- 
fal, not only to wicked persons, whom though it doth 
not make good, yet it keeps them from being worse; 
but also to holy persons, whom the fear of hell hath 
many times helped forward to heaven. Oar Saviour 
himself adviseth us to fear him who can cattt body and 
soul into hell-fire. And, that we may not forget it, he 
drives it home with an ingemination. Yea, I say unto 
you, Fear him; where we are to observe, that qui im- 
ports as much as quia; the description of the person car- 
rieth the reason for which we ought to fear him. It were 
indeed to be wished, that our souls were knit unto God 
by the more noble and generous passion of tove, and that 
we needed neither rewards to draw us to our duty, nor 
panishments to chase us to our happiness; aiid that we 
loved goodness as Cato wa» said to do virtue, because 
he could not do otherwise. But this is, with the histo- 
rian, votum aecommadaret non hi»toriam; to present 
a wish, rather than a character of an ordinary Christian; 
or, as Xenophon did with Cyrus, to describe rather 
what he should be, than what he is. Perfect love, as 
St. John tells us, casteth out all fear: but, while our love 
is imperfect, it leaves room for some fear. Hell is cer- 
tainly in our creed as well as heaven; and as the fear of 
it is ordinarily the first step of conversion, so it may be 
of use to quicken us, and push us forward all along 
through our journey toward heaven. But if Christians 
fear may have hell for its object, what kind of fear may 
this be? In a word, it ought not to be- such an/ anxious 
and troublesome fear, as may disturb our tranquillity, or 
extinguish our joy, or discourage our endeavours; but so 
rational and modest as may make us reverend in our 
love, modest in our confidence, and cautious in our joy, 
that it neither betray us to, nor vent itself in any un- 
seemly expressions. 

And thus much of the duty recommended in the text. 
It is high time now to apply these generals to the present 
occasion. We are assembled this day to commemorate 
the grea|p8t blessing that ever was bestowed on the chil- 
dren of men; a blessing wherein aU the nations of the 



ON THE NATIVITY. 17J 

world are concerned, und yet whose fntiis do as entirely 
redo and to every good nmn, as if it had been designed 
for him alone ; a mercy that doth at once astonish and 
rejoice the angels, who in comparison of ns are nncoii-» 
cemed in it. These mountains do leap for joy, because 
the valleys were filled with a fruitful shower: for when 
those glorious spirits did behold Clod stooping to the con^ 
dition of a man, and man raised above the lowliness of 
his state, and the happiness of all the angels, they w6re 
transported with admirat'ion of the mystery, and joy 
for the felicity of their fellow-creatures: and did with 
the greatest cheerfulness perform the embassies they 
were sent upon in this great afiair. For having before 
, advertised the blessed virgin of her miracnloos concep- 
tion, lest her modesty should have been ofiended at so 
strange an accident, and having removed the cnupieion 
of her betrothed husband, they rejoice to bring the first 
news of that infinite mercy which we remember thir 
day. For as certain shepherds were feeding their flocks 
by night, an angel of the Lord appeared unto them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and 
when this glorious appearance had confounded theif 
senses, and almost scattered their understanding, the an- 
gel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring unto 
you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. 
For unto you is bom this day in the city of David, a 
Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there 
was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, the 
whole choir of glorious spirits, who all joined in thig 
heavenly anthem. Glory to God on high, on earth peace, 
and good-will towards men. And may not that help to 
heighten and advance our joy and our thankfulness? 
Can we be insensible of our happiness when angels do 
so heartily congratulate it? It is a nativity which we 
celebrate, and any birth doth much rejoice persons mter-* 
ested: a woman forgets her pangs when a man-child 
is bom into the world. 

But, that ourjoy and thankfulness may be the more 
excited, we shall, first, consider the ezcellen(^ of the 
15* 



174 OW THE NATIVITY. 

person «rho was bom: secondly, the desiga of hia birth; 
and, thirdly, glance a littie at the circumstances of it. 

Fixst, tiien, he was no common and ordinary person 
whose birth occasions onr joy. If we shall bnt fix our 
eyes on his human nature, and consider those^ excellen- 
cies that were obvious to the eyes of the world, we 
shall yet acknowledge, that never such a person appear- 
ed on the face of the earth. It is he whose nativity 
was promised immediately after the iall, and so exactly 
pointed at by the Prophets many hundred years before 
it happened, that the Jews could tell the place, and the 
very heathens had some knowledge of the time: for the 
world was big with expectation, that the prophecies 
should then be fulfilled, which foretold the birth of a 
great person. Lastly, it is he whose very infancy not 
only startled a king, and made him fear his throne, but 
also aSHghted the powers of darkness, and silenced 
the heathen oracles, tile puer Hebrteus, &c. ; whose 
childhood puzzled the knowledge of the aged, and con- 
founded the ddctors of the law; who ruled the course 
of nature, and inade the strong winds obey him, and 
pould walk on the billows of the seas as on a pave- 
ment; who fed multitudes by hia word, and healed 
all manner of diseases without medicine; who could 
command them to leap that were cripple, and make 
them see the heavens and the day who had been bom 
blind; and who could cast devils out of their possessions, 
and restore the frantic to their wits; who could break 
the gates of death, and open the doors of the grave, 
and call back the spirits to the buried carcasses. 

It is he, who, by the ministry of twelve fishermen, 
made his religion, though contrary to the corrupt affec- 
tions and carnal interests of men, quickly subdue the 
known world, and submit to a cmcified king. The 
doctrine which he taught, mastered the understanding of 
the«most learned philosophers, conquered the spirits of 
the most valiant commanders, and outwitted the cun- 
ning of the subtlest politicians: it cancelled the ceremo- 
nies ofglie Jew, confbunded the wisdom of the Greek, 



ON THX NATIVITY. 176 

and instructed the rndeneM of the barbarian; and re- 
mains still in the world a constant evidence of the au- 
thor's wisdom and power. And what ^11 we apeak 
of the goodness and moral endowments of that faaman 
nature, which were as miracnlons as his power! Nay, all 
his miracles were' instances of the one as well as of the 
other. ^ Should we speak of his ardent piety and devo- 
tion, his love to God; and his zeal for his honour, his 
amiable meekness and humility, his universal charity 
and compassion even toward his bitter enemies, his 
venerable purity and temperance, the noble contempt 
of the world, all those other virtues which shined so 
eminently in his whole conversation: a sermon were 
too little for every particular. But this is not all: He 
was not only far above other men, but infinitely above 
the angels; being personally united to the divine nature. 
He was God as well as man. And, by communica- 
tion of properties, it may be said, that he whom we 
now behold in a cradle, hath his tturone in the heaven, 
and filleth all things by his immensity; that he who was 
wrapt in swaddling clothes, is now clothed in infinite 
glory; and he whom we find in a stable among beasts, 
is the same with him encircled with millions of angels. 
In a word, that great person whose nativity we cele- 
brate, is divinely embodied, God made flesh. This 
union of the, divine and human nature, is a mystery 
great enough to confound our understanding, but not to 
trouble or shake our faith, who know many things to 
be which we cannot know how they are, and are not 
able to give any account of the union between the soul 
and the body, or of the parts of nature among them- 
selves, which yet we never call in question. 

And thus much of th^ dignity of Christ's person, 
which is the first ground of our joy; we proceed to the 
second, the design of his birth. He was lord of the 
world; but came not into it to exercise dominion, nOr as 
the Jews expected, to procure their temporal redemption, 
and restoi^ the kingdom to Israel* He came not for so 
mean a purpose as the Jews expected, to proHre their 
temporal redemption, to make his followers rich and 



17ff OK THK WATIVITY. 

honourable, fortunate or conspicuous in the world; nay, 
both by precept and example he taught them to contemn 
and de^^pise all such empty trifles: but he caipe to de- 
liver bis people from eveiiasltng destruction, and from 
the captivity of Fin, and to teach them how by a holy 
life they might obtain an endless happiness. He came 
not indeed to purchase us a liberty to sin, without haz- 
ard, and then to cover all our iniquities with his right- 
eousness; to let us live as we list, and assure us of par- 
don. Nay, it had neither been consistent with his love 
to God, to have procured pardon for obstinate and in- 
corrigible rebels; nor so great a benefit to us, to have 
obtained remission without sanctification. Had we been 
delivered from all other punishment, sin itself woidd 
have made us miserable. But Christ came into the 
world to save his people fram their sins, as well as 
from the dismal consequences of them ; and to procure 
for us, that, beine delivered out of the hands of onr 
enemies, we might serve him without fear, in holiness 
and righteousness before him. In a word, Christ came 
into the world to advance the glory of God, and the 
happiness of the earth, by restoring us to the favour of 
our maker, and a conformity to him. And certainly, 
if we have any sense of the evil of sin or the misery of 
hell, of the beauty of holiness or the glory of heaven, 
it must needs be a matter of great joy, to celebrate the 
birth of him who doth deliver us from the one, and 
give us assurance of the other. 

It remaineth yet, that we speak of the circumstances 
of the nativity which we celebrate; and many things 
present themselves full of comfort and instruction. We 
shall only observe our Saviour's coming into the w^orld 
after that manner which did best suit with his design. 
Indeed when a man should hear of the Son of God*s 
coming down from heaven, and making a progress into 
the fower world, he would be apt to think that liis ap- 
pearance would be with the greatest splendour and 
magnificence, and th^ the glory of heaven bhould con- 
tinually%tend and ^nalize his penK)n; at least, that 
ail the princes in the world should be summoned to at* 



ON THE KATIVITY. 177 

tend his reception, and that the heavens shonld bow at 
his presence, and the earth tremble at the approach of 
his majesty, and that all the clouds should clap together 
in an universal thunder, t9 welcome his appearance. 
But, instead of all this pomp and grandeur, he slips into 
the world (as they say) incognito, is bom in a village, 
discovered by some poor shepherds, and found by them 
in a stable, and such a homely cradle as that anorded, 
only attended by his poor mother; who, though of royal 
blood, had nothing but goodness to make her eminent. 
And his education was answerable to his obscure birth, 
and his whole life a course of humility and self-denial. 
Now certainly, this far best agrees with the design of 
his appearance, who came not on so mean an errand as 
to dazzle the eyes of mankind with the appearance of 
his glory, nor to amaze them with the terribleness of 
his majesty; much less to make a show of the riches 
and gallantry of the world amongst them; but to bring 
life and immortality to light, and « lead men to eternal 
happiness. In order to which, it was n v^essary, that, 
by his example, as well as doctrine, he should dispar-^ 
age the vanities of the world, and bring them out of 
that credit and esteem they had gotten among foolish 
men. 

I shall proceed no farther on this subject. I hope it 
doth appear that we have great reason to rejoice in the 
exaltation of the human nature, and the great salvation 
purchased to us by the incarnation of the Son of God. 
1 shall add, that even this joy admits of holy fear; even 
on this occasion we must rejoice with trembling. Sal- 
vation is come into the world; but wo to them that neg- 
lect it' The gospel is preached; but there is great dan- , 
ger in slighting it. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise 
being left us of entering into his rest, *ny of us should 
come short of it. Little cause have obstinate sinners to 
rejoice on this festival. The time is coming that they 
shall wish that either Christ had never come into the 
world, or they had never heard i>f him: Behold, this 
- child is set for the rise and fall of many. Ad they 
that are not the better, shall be the worse for his com* 



178 ON THE PASSION. 

ing. One way I must name, that mnny men set this 
child for thetr own fall, when they make this, solemn an- 
niversary an opportunity of sinning and debauchery; as 
if it where indeed a drunkea Bacchus, and not a holy 
Jesus, whom they worshipfld. What! sirs, because 
God became man, must we therefore become beasts? or 
' think we to honour that child with dissoluteness, who 
came to the world on design of holiness? This it is, no 
doubt, that gives many men a prejudice against the fes- 
tival itself, and perhaps is their most specious argument. 
We know an answer; but you may, and ought to aflford 
another, by removing any grqund of such a pretence. 
Indeed a forenoon's sermon will never compensate an 
afternoon's debauch; nor will your service in the church 
/ justify your intemperance at home. But as hereby at 
least some time is redeemed from the too frequent cours- 
es of the day, so I wish the time we spend here, may 
have some influence towards the right improvement of 
the rest; that our behaviour on the solemnity may be 
such as suits ^ith the infinite holiness of that person 
whom we profess to honour, that we may serve the 
Lord with fear» and rejoice with trembling. 



ON THE PASSIOJ* OP OUR SAVIOUR. 



LAM. L 12. 

is it nothing to you^ all y,e that pass by? behold 
and see, if there be any sot-row like unto my 
sorrow. 

We are to-morrow, God willing, to be employed in 
one of the highest and most solemn offices of our religion, 
to commemorate the death and sufferings of the blessed 
Jesus, and to receive the sacred pledge of his dying: and 
how much may the everlasting interests of our sods de- 
pend upon the right performbg of this work! 



ON THE PASSION. 179 

It » not time now to discourse of the nature and ends 
of the sacrament we are about to celebrate; we are to 
suppose you already instructed in these: we shall rather 
fix our thoughts on those things which may have a more 
immediato influence to dispose us for so near and sol- 
emn an address unto God, and to assist and direct us in 
it. And 1 know nothing more proper for this purpose, 
than the serious consideration of those sufferings of our 
Saviour, which are to be symbolically represented unto 
US in that holy ordinance. 

This passionate bomplaint of the prophet Jeremiah, 
which we have read, though in its first and literal sense 
it may refer to the sad condition of the Jewish nation 
and the holy city under the Babylonish captivity, (as 
many prophecies concerning the Messiah had a literal 
completion in those who were his types;) yet certainly 
in its highest and fullest sense it is only applicable to our 
blessed Saviour: of him alone it could be said* in strict- 
ness and propriety of speech, that there was never sor- 
row like his sorrow. 

Let us then consider the words as our Savionr*s com- 
plaint of the dulness and stupidity of men, who go up 
and dowii in the worId,'who come and pass, without re- 
garding his sufferings, which were so grievous, wherein 
themselves are so nearly concerned. And from thence 
I would consider these three things. 

1. The greatness of our Saviour's sufferings, express- 
ed in these words. See if there be any sorrotQ like 
unto my sorrow, 

2. Our interest and concernment in tbem> insinuated 
in that passionate interrogation. Is it nothing to you? 

3. That his sufferings ought not to be pas^sd by, but 
seriously regarded and considered: Is it nothing to 
you, all ye that pass by? Sfc. 

I. Let us reflect on our Saviour's sufferings. But O 
where shall we begin to recount them! His whole life, 
from the manger, his uneasy cradle, nnto his cross and 
grave, was a continued tract of sufferings. lie did all 
along answer that character given of liini by tile Proph- 
et, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. 



180 ON THE PASSION. 

To gay nothing of the meanness of his biith, and the 
pains of circumcision, the persecutions of his infancy, 
his poverty and want, his travail and weariness; his 
fasting and watching^ his sweat and his tears, and all 
the other infirmities incident to our human nature, and 
inconveniences attending a poor and straitened estate; 
he could not but lead a very sad and afflicted life, con- 
sidering that he lived in a perverse and wicked genera^ 
tion, and the continual trouble of being witness to the 
follies and miscarriages of wicked men; to hear and see 
dishonour done unite God by the profaneness of some, 
and hypocrisy of others; to observe the covetousness 
and injustice, the fraud and oppression, the malice an^i 
envy, and all the abominable lusts that aboimded in the 
world in his days. We are commonly little concerned 
in the interests' of religion; and therefore do apprehend 
but little trouble in these. But, if the soul of righteous 
Lot was grieved with the iniquities of the place where 
he lived, and if David is put to cry out, Wo is me thaf 
I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar; 
how deeply do we think the blessed soul of the holy 
Jesus must needs have been pierced, by every blasphe- 
mous word that he heard, by every wicked action he be- 
held! Doubtless it was no small sorrow that made him 
cry out, O faithless and perverse generation, how long 
shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Nor 
was he a little moved, when his zeal did carry him to 
that severity, which, if we did not consider the cause, 
would seem very unlike to the wonted meekness of his 
spirit, in whipping the traders out of the temple. And 
hereunto his tender compassion towards men, which 
could not but make him exceeding s<^y, to see them 
frustrate the method of his mercy, and ruin themselves by 
their enmity against him ; to hear them reproach the holy 
doctrine which he taught, and undervalue the miracles 
which he performed, or else condemn them as the un- 
lawful effects of magical skill; that though became un- 
to bis own, yet his own received him not; though he 
spake as never man spake, and did such works as would 
have converted Tyre and Sidon, yet did they baffle their 



On the passiox. ISi 

own reason » and persist in their infidelity, because, for- 
sooth, they knew the place and manner dT his education; 
as though his being reputed the carpenter's spn, had been 
a sufficient answer to all that he could say or do. This 
was the occasion of his tears over that wretched and un- 
grateful city; O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest 
the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, 
how often would I have gathered thy children together, 
even as a hen gathercth her chickens under her wings, 
and ye would not! If thou liadst known, even thou, at 
least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy 
peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 

We have no time to reflect on all the sad passagi^s 
which occur in the history of our Saviour's life; let us 
fix our^eyes a little on some of the last scenes, and we 
shall find them tke blackest that ever were acted on the 
human nature. At the approach of death, it is isaid, he 
began to be sorrowful, as if he had never felt any grief 
before. His former afHictious were like" scattered m-ops 
of rain; but, in this great deluge, all the fountains ho- 
neath, and all the windows of heaven were opened; the 
wrath of Gocr against a sinful world, the malice and 
cruelty of men, the rage and fury of devils, break out 
together against him. If we take the measure of his 
suBerings by the apprehensions which he had of them 
before, we shall find that, when he is talking with his 
disciples about them, and encouraging himself and hii 
followers with the assurance of the reward set before 
them; yet he doth not dissemble the fear and trouble 
wherewith he wtfB seized: Now is my soul troubled; and 
what shall I say? IFather, save me from this hour, &c. 
Certainly, if there had been no more in his siiflerings 
than what is commonly incident to human nature, as to 
. endure pain or death, he who had a perfect innocency, 
the freest and most entire resignation, the fullest assur- 
ance of the reward to come, would never have been half 
60 much aflrighted with the apprehension of them. The 
view of that sad night's transaction, wherein he w^ 
delivered into the hands of sinners, presents us with a . 
strange and amazing spectacle. Look into the garden, 
16 



182 ON THS PA9SZOX. 

and behold the Son of God prostrate with hts face upon 
the ground, in the saddest discomposure of spirit that 
eould possibly consist with his perfect innocency. He 
was sorrowful and very heavy, and tells liis disciples. 
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. It 
seems, had he remained long in this condition, bis own 
grief would have killed him. Here it was that he suf- 
fered that which the Evangelist calleth an agony ; but 
what the nature and measures of it were, he alone can 
'- tell who did feel it. It is not possible for us to oompre^ 
bend the.mixture olT that bitter cup: yet we may guess 
some ingredients of it. And, first, without question, he 
had a clearer foresight of that painful and cursed death 
which he was so shortly afler to undergo. This king 
of terrors did represent himself to him in his greatest 
pomp, clothed with all the circumstances of horror. 
And even this could not but be very dreadful, perhaps 
more ^him than it would have been to some other per- 
son. There is a sort of natural stoutness and courage 
depending much on the temper and constitution of the 
body, and which doth commonly accomminy the rough- 
est and most stubborn natures; when those of a moro 
sweet and benign disposition, are many times obnoxious 
to deeper impressions of fear. And it will not derogate 
from tne honour of our blessed Saviour, though we should 
surpose, that, amongst other infirmities, he might be 
much liable to this natural and innocent passion. The 
true greatness of the soul, doth not consist in the vigour 
of the natural spirits, nor the sturdy boldness of an un- 
daunted humour; but in a holy steadfiHtness and resolu- 
tion to undergo those things which are dreadful to na- 
ture. • 

But certainly the fear of death was neither the only, 
nor the greatest thing that troubled our Saviour's spirk 
at that time. He had another sad and. more dreadibl 
prospect, the heinous and innumerable sms of mankind, 
whose nature he had taken, and whose iniquities he 
was to bear. He saw the whole world lying in wick- 
edness, and ready to drop into eternal flame^i; he saw 
the angor of God kindled, and his hand lifted op; and 



ON THE PJkSSIOX. i8S 

be knevy that the stroke wonld light npon himself, and 
'^that the chafttisemeDt of our peace was to be upon him. ■ 

And, doubtless, it added not a little uato tm grief, 
that he knew till that he had done^ and all that he was 
about to suffer, would be slighted and .despised by the 
greatest part of mankind. It grieved itim to think, 
that many thousandri, who were to be cdied by his 
name, would prove so base and unthankful, as to reject 
his love, and baffle his passion, and make a by>word of 
his blood and wounds; that one would prefer a strumpet, 
another his cups, a third his gold and money, to the 
mercies of a gracious God, and the unspeakable kind* 
ness of a dying Saviour. 

Briefly, in this agony, our Saviour did struggle with 
the violent passion of fear and grief; which racked his 
joints, aiHd stretched his sinews, till, in that cold night, 
and in the open air, a sweat, and that of blood, did is- 
sue forth, and moisten his garments, and tumbled down 
unto the ground. Now he came froni Bozra with his 
garments dyed red; he had trodden tlie wine press alone, 
and of the people there waii none with him. And now 
behold and sfec, if there was any sorrow like uuto his 
sorrow. 

But now he awaketh his drowsy disciples, and calla 
them to rise and be going; for behold he is at hand that 
betrays him. And scarce had he spoke the word, wlien 
behold the traitor, and witli him a great multitude from 
the chief priests, and elders of the people. They come 
out as against a thief with swords and staves, for to take 
him. That monster of ingratitude gives them the sig- ' 
nal; and with a horrid impudence, dares approach his 
infamous and sacrilegious lips to that sacred and vene- 
rable face; which we may reckon as the first wound he 
received from hk4 enemies. O what an indignity, to be 
kissed by a traitor, an apostate, an enemy to God, pon- 
fsessod by the devils and who was to be lodged in hell 
ere twenty-four hours expired. And O the insuperable 
meekness of our blessed Savionr, who suffers the indr^- 
niiy, and checks "it with no harsher terms than thi;«. 
Friend, wherefore ait thou come? Judas, betrnvest thou 



• 64 on THE PASSION. 

the sofi of man wrth a hiss} Then he tumeth unto the 
armed bands, and said nnto them. Whom seek ye? 
They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus saith 
unto them, I am be. The meekness of this answer 
astonished the soldiers, and the power that accompanied 
it, made them go back and fall to the ground. And 
ivhy did they not fall into hell? The wicked enterprise 
they were presently about to do did justly deserve it; 
and how easy was it for hiiA to have done it? But his 
goodness restrained him; he meaned them no harm, but 
intended this fall to help thern to rise; that the consid- 
eration of it, and the other evidences of his divinity, 
might one day bring them to a sense of their sins. 
Nor will he any further employ his miraculous power, 
but only in the cure of an enemy, whom his too for- 
ward disciple had wounded. But this doth not abate 
their malice.' They lay hold on him, and drag him 
away in a great hurry and uproar, through that city 
where he had done so much good, 'and into which he 
bad been lately received with joy and triumph, and 
loud acclamations: Blessed is he that coraetfa in the 
name of the Lord. They carry him from Annas to 
Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Her- 
od, from Herod to Pilate again; treating film with all 
the indignities, all thef instances of scorn and contempt 
that tlieir malice could suggest unto them. Now, 
though our extreme impatience of ignominies and af- 
fronts, do much proceed from the pride and haughtiness 
of our spirits; yet is there in them a contrariety even to 
the innocent constitution of the human nature. Shame 
and disgrace are troublesome to all ingenuous spirits; 
so that, though they could not raise an immoderate pas- 
sion in our blessed Saviour, yet his blessed spirit had a 
great abhorrence and detestation of that base and un- 
worthy usage; which was iufinitely heightened by the 
worth and excellency of the person who suffered it. 
What loyal heart can read or hear of the indignities 
done by the rude soldiers to our late sovereign, but 
with regret and abhorrence: But, alas! what are they, 
if compareu with those that were put upon the king of 



ON THE PASSION. 1S6 

lieavOT, wlien they scoffed and reproached him, when 
, they smote him ou the cheek, and bound tlio-se hands 
which had cured so many diseases, and deiiled that 
«ticred face with spittle, which saints and angel^f delight 
to behold? 'All which he sidered with that ineeliness 
which the Prophet had foretold: He gave his back to 
the smiters, and liis cheeks to them tliat plucked otf tho 
hair: he did not hide his face from shame and spitting. 
They would needs be ingenious in their scoilings, and 
mock him in all his offices. He was a Prophet, and 
tlipy desire him to prophesy who it was that did smite 
him: he was a Priest, and they bid him save himself a« 
he did others: he was a King, and they crown him with 
thorns, and array him with scarlet, and put a reed in 
his hand, and, in scorn, salute him. King of the Jewa. 
Add Dutp this the violence done imto his virgin mod- 
esty, when he was stripped naked in the view of the iiide 
multitude. It is teported of some virgin martyrs, that 
C«od, pitying their grief and trouble to have their naked* 
^nesj discovered, \vhen they were- to be stripped of their 
" clothes, did cover them with a veil of light, and send 
them to a modest and desired death. Put tho holy Je^ 
fius, who refused no shame, endured also this of naked- 
ness, that we might be clothed with his righteousness. 
But though it pleased their malice to have Mm ex-, 
posed to ail indignities imaginable; yet nothing would 
satisfy it but his to nnent and his death. He hath al- 
ready had trial of cruel mockings, and- now he mui<t 
have scourging.^ too: they whip him with violent and 
nnrelenting hands, tearing his tender flesh, and making 
long furrows in it. And, now, behold th^ man! behold 
him in that sad mwerrible plight wherein Pilate brought 
him forth, thinking to have appeased the malice of the 
Jews! his head pierced with briers, his face blue with 
strokes, Itis hand^ bound, that he could not so much as 
wipe off the blood which trickled down his eyes; hiH 
whole body discoloured with the marks of the scourgs! 
From the top of his head, to the sole of his foot there 
was no soundness in him. Was tliere ever tiuy sorrovv 
like unto his sorrow? 
"16* 



186 ON THE PASSIOW. 

There reinaineth yet another scene, a very sad and 
dismal one. When nothing could prevail with the Jews, 
Pilate yieldeth, and dehvereth onr Savionrto their hands. 
They carry him away, so faint and weak with what he 
had already endured, that he could not bear the weight 
of his cross, but another must carry it f6r him. But now 
they nail him unto it, hang him up between two thieves, 
as the most notorious ofiender of the three. It cannot 
be expressed how painful this kind of death was. The 
very stretching forth of the arms without any weight, 
can hardly be enduroj^ any considerable time: but, when 
the weight of the body did hang upon them, and there- 
by tear the wounds that were made in the hands; when 
this torment was continued, till pain alone had overcome 
the power of nature, and forced the soul to dislodge 
without any hurt to the vital parts, scarce any could be 
invented more dreadful and cruel ; to say nothing of the 
shanTO that attended it, being only destined for the mean* - 
est slaves, and the greatest offenders, those whom the 
lowness of their condition, or the greatness of their 
c^mes, made unworthy of any respect. In this sad and 
painful posture did our Saviour hang, without any tiling 
to comfort him. The holy angels, who were accustomed 
to ser>'e him upon other occasions, do now disappear; 
not one of them to strengthen or r9lieve him. As for 
men, miserable comforters are they all: the soldiers scoff 
him; those that pass by exult over him; a companion of 
his sufferings adds unto them by his reproaches: his dis- 
ciples had forsaken him; one of them had betrayed him, 
another forsworn him, a third nm away from him naked, 
that he hiight not be apprehended with him. Indeed 
some devout women followed him out of the city; but 
their compassion did so little ease his grief, that he de- 
sired them to resen'e their team for the calamities that 
were to befall themselves: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep 
not for me, but we^p for yourselves, and for your chil- 
dren. He beheld the two persons that were the dear- 
est to him in the world, his mother, and his friend, bit- 
ting under the cross; but all that they could do was but 
to lament and mourn ; and this but redoubled his sorrow^ 



• Oljf THE FASSIOW^ .187 

His blessed mother was bathed in tear^; and felt the ef- 
fects of old Simeon's prophecy, that a sword should 
pierce through her soul. And the beloved disciple, who 
was wont to lie in his bosom, lay still very near bis 
heart; and- it was n real sufferine unto him, to see the 
anguish and sorrow whereinto his sufierings had cast 
them. Whither then could he look for comfort, but 
nnto heaven? To whom could he flee, but to the arms 
of his Father? But O what strange, what astonishing 
words do we hear? My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me? Wonder, O earth! be astonished, O ye 
heavens! At this, men and angels admire and stand 
amazed ! goodness and innocence itself forsaken by the 
author and fountain of goodness, the Son of God desert- 
ed by his heavenly Father! Certainly the soul of our 
blessed Saviour was still united to the divine nature, 
and was still as dear unto his Father as before; only the 
joyful sense «f the divine love was suspended for a 
while; the faculties of bis soul were discomposed, and a 
veil, as it were, drawn before the eyes of his mind, 
which intercepted the light of his Father's countenance; 
and that he felt not those refreshing emanations, which 
in the course of his life the Deity, conveyed unto him. 
And, in that sad moment, his mind seems to have been 
so intent upon his sufferings, that he was diverted from 
the actual consideration of that glory which he pur- 
chased by them. Now, to be thus suspended from \he 
perfect vision of God, to be divorced, as it were, from 
himself, and to lose the sense of those inward comforts 
"which were wont to sustain him in all liis adversities, 
how cutting must it needs be to his soul, so pure and 
holy, and which liad so high a value for the divine love? 
Consider then, and see, if ever there was any sorrow 
like tmto this sorrow. 

Now it is finished, the sharp conflict is at a close; one 
cry more, and the blessed Jesus bowed down liis head, 
and yielded up the ghost. No wonder then if the pow- 
ers of heaven and earth be moved. The earth trem- 
1)leth and shaketh, the rocks rent, the graves are opened, 
the \;ail of the temple was rent in two, the sun himself 



188 ON TKK PASSION. 

shrank in his beams, and darkness covered the face of 
the earth; which a learned man of* Greece is said to have 
observed at that time, and from thence to have conclud- 
ed, That either the God of nature saOered violence, or 
ihat the frame of the world was about to dissolve: Jlttt 
Deus naturtBpatitur, aut machina tnundi solvitur. 
Thus we have given you some nide imperfect hints o^ 
^ his great and unspeakable sufterings. But O how little 
'of them do we understand to very good purpose! It was 
for this reason the ancient fathers of the Greek church in 
their litursy, ailer they have recounted all the particular 
pains as they are set down in his passion, and by all and 
every one of them called for mercy, do after all shut up 
with this supplication: By thine unknown sorrows and 
sufferings, felt by thee, but not distinctly known by qs» 
have mercy upon us and save us. ' 

II. We proceed, in the next place, to consider the 
interest that we have in the sufieriug of our Saviour: Is 
•it nothing toyoul Have you no interest nor concern- 
ment at all in them! Much, certainly, every way. We 
were the occasion of his sutferings, and the benefits of 
them redound unto us. When we see a person under- 

fo any sad and grievous punishment, we cannot choose 
nt inquire into the grounds and occasions of their suf- 
ferings; and the rather if they have the reputation of in- 
nocence and integrity. And here not only the most in- 
nocent, but the most excellent person that ever was in 
the world, undergoes those dreadful sufferings which we 
mentioned before; who never had done any sin at all, 
nci^er was guile found in his mouth, so that the judse 
who condemned him, behoved first to condemn himself 
by a solemn acknowledgement of his innocence. lie 
had gone up and down all his days doing good unto 
men, and scattering blessioBd where he came; healing 
the sick, restoring sight to tne blind, and making the 
lamo to walk, the dumb to speak, and the deaf to hear, 
feeding the hungr}', and instructing all that would 
vouchsafe to hear him. For which of. all these cood 
works is he punished? Death is the wages of sin;bow » 
comes he to die that know no sin? The Frophet .}s^aiah 



ON THK PASSION. ^ 18^ 

gives ns the answer: Surely, he hath borne ovr, griefs, 
and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him strick- 
'on, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wound- 
ed for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniqui- 
ties: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and 
by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep hav6 
gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way, 
and the Lord hath laid on him tne iniquity of us all. 
Messiah was cut off, but not for himself: He bare our sins 
in his own body on the tree; and gave his life a ransom 
for many. The race of mankind by their apostasy from 
God, were become liable to his wrath, and all the 
dreadful effects of his vengeance: the eternal Son of 
God, the Wisdom of the Father, whose delights were 
always with the sons of men, resolveth to make up the 
breach, and restore us again unto his Father's love: but 
first he must repair the honour of God, and secure the 
■authority of tHe divine law; which could not be done, 
but by some signal evidence of God's displeasure 
against sin, and some valuable compensation of the pun- 
ishment which had been denounced agaiiist it: and there- 
fore himself was pleased to take our nature upon him, 
appear in the similitude of sinful flesh, to lead a miser- 
able and afflicted life in the world, and at last to offer 
it up as a propitiation for us; that mercy and truth might 
meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each 
other; and that God might at once be just, and also the 
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Thus then the 
blessed Jesus endured all th^e sufierings for us and for 
our sins. In vain do we exclaim against the trea- 
son of Judas, the malice of the Jews, the injustice of 
Pilate? wfe lave ourselves and our iniquities to blame: 
our covetousness and ambition exposed him to poverty 
and contempt, our excess apd intemperance made him 
hunger and thirst, our \evay and foolish mirth were the 
occasion of the anguish and bitterness of his sou!; otir 
sensual ai\d sinful pleasures were the occasion of all the 
pains and tortures which he endured. And is it nothing 
unto us? shall we think ourselves unconcerned in these 
sad eilects, whereof we were the unhappy cause? 



190 ' ON TH£ rASSION. 

Again, we are concerned in oar Saviour's sufTeriogSj 
as the benefits of them redound unto us. By bis stripes 
we are healed. AVe have redemption through \iu 
blood, even the forgiveness of our sins: ' God was in 
Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing 
their trespasses unto them. We have access unto tlie 
throne of God; and boldness to enter into the holiest 
by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which 
he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to 
Fay, his flesh. But this is not all: God hath not set him 
forth as a propitiation through faith in his blood, for the 
remission of sins that are past; but doth also, for his 
sake, bestow on us that grace, whereby we may be en- 
abled to serve him in holiness and righteousness all the 
clays. of our lives. An amnesty; or act of oblivion for 
past of!ences, would never have served the turn; we 
should presently have run ourselves upon another score: 
nay, sin itself had been enough to make us miserable, 
though no other punishment had Ifeen inflicted upon us: 
and therefore he does not only cover our sins, but cures 
tliem; he forgives aU our iniquities, and healeth all our 
diseases: as we are justified by his sufferings, so we are 
sanctified too through the offering of the body of Jesus 
Christ once for all. In a word, by the merits of our 
8avi0ur we are both reconciled unto God, and made 
partakers of the divine nature; we are both, delivered 
from everlasting darkness, and made meet for the inher- 
itance of the saints in light. And now is it nothing to 
us? Can we think ourselves unconcerned in these suf- 
ferings, from which we reap so great so unspeakable 
advantages? 

III. Having spoken of the greatness of our Saviour's 
sufferings, and the interest which we have in them, we 
think we should need to say little of the third particular 
which we proposed: you cAinot but be convinced, that 
we ought to regard and consider them. Were it nothing 
to us, the very strangeness of the thing would deser\ e 
notice. The holy angels desire to pry into tliis myste- 
ry; they will contemplate and admire it to all eternity. 
And surely we dre far more nearly concerned. What 



ON THE PASSIOIf Idl 

en unaccountable dulness and negligence is it then, for 
men to go np and down the world amusing themselves 
with every tiifle; hearing and telling of news about mat' 
ters of the dmal^iit importance, and never to consider the 
iBtupendous sufferings of their dying Saviour! They walk 
to and fro, they come and pass, and scarce vouchsafe to 
look upon him: or, if they chance to cast their eyes that 
way, it is a very short and overly view; they presently 
turn them away. And th» occasions the complaint of 
the text. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? But 
sure I am we can nowhere behold an object so worthy 
of our most serious and solemn regards. The whole 
world does not afibrd so useful and edifying a prospect. 
Here it is that we may best learn the horrid and hei- 
nous nature of aia, which could not be pardoned at a 
smaller rate. Here it is that we may discover most of 
the divine bounty and goodness to mankind, and tho 
inexpressible love of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer; , 
which are the most important lessons that we can learn. 
This made the blessed Apostle to determine to know 
nothing but Cbiist, and him crucified, to count all things 
but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus his Lord. Let me therefore exhort you to fix tho 
eyes of your mind, and call up your most serious atten-^ 
tion; reach hither the hand of your faith, and thrust it 
into the hole of your Saviour's side; put your fingers in- 
to the print of the nails; lay to heart all the passages of 
his lamentable story; and this cannot choose but melt 
your hearts, unless they be harder than the rocks, and 
deafer than the bodies in the grave. Let us fix our eyes, 
I say, on this astonishing object, till our eyes affect our 
heart, that while we are musing, the fire may burn. 
Let us mourn for those sins wherewith we have cruci- 
fied the Lord of glory, and be grieved that ever wo 
should have put him to so much anguish and pain ; and 
let us vow a perpetual enmity against our lusts and cor- 
rupt affections, which would crucify him afresh, and 
put him unto open shame. Let us consider and admire 
the wonderful love of our dyjng Saviour, that our souls 
may be kindled with rcciprocal-fiames, wherein w^c may 



|98 A PRSPABAT^ON FOR THE 

ofTer up ourselves as a living and acceptable sacrifice un- 
to him; that thus, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, 
we may be rooted and grounded in Iov€; comprehend- 
ing with .all saintAt what is the breadth, and length, and 
height; and knowing the love of Christ which pa5seth 
knowledge, that so we may be filled with all the fulnes^ 
of God. Such meditations and exercises as these will 
purify and raise our souls, and best dispose us for ap> 
preaching to the table of the Lord. And the Lord pour 
out upon us the spirit of grace and supplication, that we 
may look upon him whom we have pierced, and moura 
for him as one moumetb for his only son, and be in bitter- 
ness for him as one ^hat is in bitterness for his first-born. 



A PREP^RATIOxV FOR THE HOLY SACRAMENT. 



JOSH. IIL 5. 

Sanctify yourselves: for to^morrovb the Lord wilt 

do wonders among yon. 
' When God is to make any signal discovery and 
manifestation of himself to his people, he calleth them 
to solemn preparation, that they may be in a fit posture 
to attend and receive it. Three eminent instances 
whereof we meet with in the travels of his ancient peo- 
ple of Israel. The first is in Exodus xix. 10, 11. where, 
being to descend upon Sinai to promulgate a law, and 
enter into a covenant with themj^the Lord said unto 
Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day 
and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be 
ready against the third dKy: for the third day the Lord 
will come down in tlie sight of all the people. Thus 
also, when he was at once to satisfy and punish the in- 
ordinate appetite of that people who loathed the manna, 
and lusted after flesh, by bringing innumerable quails 
from the sea, and causing them to fall about their camp. 



HOLY SACRAMENT. IdS 

he corarnanded Moses to say unto the people, Sanctify 
yourselves against to-morrow, and ye shall eat flesh. 
A third instance is that of the text. The Lord had 
brought his people to the borders of Canaan, and was 
now to give them the seisin and possession of that prom- 
ised land: he was to divide the waters of Jordan before 
them; and thereby both facilitate their passage, and as- 
sure their possession. Hereby, said Joshua, ye shall 
know that the living God is among you, and that he will 
without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, 
and the Hittites, and Hivites, and the Perizzites, and 
the Giigashites, and the Amorit^s and the Jebusites, 
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the 
earth, passeth over before you into Jordan. And it shall 
come to pass, as soon as the' soles of the fbet of the 
priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the 
earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters 
of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come 
down from abovQ; and they shall stand upon an heap. 
Now, to dispose them for so great a mercy, Jos)\ua 
gives them tins advertisement in the text. Sanctify your- 
selv"^: for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among 
you. 

And sure this same advertisement must needs be very 
seasonable to us, who are expecting that God will man-v 
ifest himself to-morrow in this place, in a way no les» 
glorious, and far more comfortable and advantageous, 
than any of those we have mentioned unto you. We 
hope he shall descend from the habitation of his glory, 
that he will rend the heavens, and come down into this 
house, not with fire, a|ui blackness, and darkness, and 
tempest, and the soun^f a trumpet, and the voice of 
words, which they that heard, entreated that the word 
should not be spoken unto them any more; because they 
could not endure that which was commanded: but with 
the gentle and enlivening flames of love, with the re- 
freshing beams of divine light, with the still and quiet 
whisper of his Holy Spirit^ which are only heard in calm 
and silent souls. He is coming to proclaim another law« 
a law of liberty and love; to enter into a new and bet- 
17 



194 A P&SPARATION FOR THB 

ter covenant with us, not according to that covenant 
which he made with the house of Israel, in the day when 
he took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt: 
but this is the covenant he fhaketh with us, that he ^11 
pat his laws into our minds, and write them in our 
hearts: and he will be to us a God, and we shall be 
to him a people; that he will be merciful to our un- 
righteousness, and remember our iniquities no more. 

To-morrow the Lord will give us flesh to eat; not the 
flesh of quails and feathered fowls, to sustain' this crazy 
and decaying frame; but the flesh and blood of the Son 
of* man; that flesh which is meat indeed, and that blood^ 
which ]a drink indeed; which giveth life and everlasting 
happiness to the soul, and consigneth these mortal bodies 
to a blessed resurrection: for whoso eateth my flesh, and 
drinketh my blood, (saith our Saviour) hath eternal life, 
and I will raise him up at the last day* 

To-morrow the Lord will Qpen a passage for his peo- 
ple towards the heavenly €anaan, place them, as it were, 
in the confines of that promised laind, in the suburbs of 
happiness and glory: at least he will show them a token 
for good, and sign a right and security unto it. And, 
though floods of sin and sorrow were ready to over- 
whelm their souls, he will restrain and divert them: 
Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come 
nigh unto them. What fitter terms could we therefore 
choose to bespeak you in, than those of this holy man, 
Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow, &c. 

The words contain an exhortation, and a reason enfor- 
cing it. In applying them to the present occasion, we 
#hall invert the order, and handle the latter psirt of the 
text first, because of the influence it. hath on the former. 
We shall firat tell you what those wonders are which the 
Lord is to do among us to-morrow; the consideration 
of them being of great use, both to excite us to sanctify 
and prepare ourselves, and also to instruct and direct us 
in it. 

I. What then are those wonders we expect to see? 
A little bread broken and divided among us, a little wuie 
poured forth and drunk. Is there any thmg to surprise 



HOLY SACRAMENT. 195 

and amaze ns here? What better is this than our ordi- 
nary entertaiument at home? Are not Abana and Phar- 
par, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of 
Israel? Such may be the thoughts of profane and igno- 
rant fools; for the outside of this ordinance is very poor 
and mean^ hath nothing in it that may dazzle or delight 
the vulgar eye, that may. please or affect a carnal mind: 
but those whose eyes are opened to right apprehensions 
of spiritual and divine things, can easily see through this 
coarse and contemptible vail, and discern astonishing 
wonders in this ordinance, wonders of power, and wis- 
dom, and love. 

If we consider what is represented to -us in this sa- 
crament, we have therein occasion to behold tlie most 
wonderful and astonishing spectacle that ever was seen 
in this lower world; the only begotten Son of God suf- 
fering for the sins of the worid; the Lord of slory hanging 
between two thieves: for in this ordinance Jesus Christ is 
evidently set forth as crucified before our eyes. We 
may read and hear of it at other times ; but this is a more 
clear and solemn representation of it: our dying Lord 
commanded us to do it in remembnmce of him. Here 
our thoughts^are more fixed, and our meditations higher 
raised; we get a nearer and more advantageous prospect 
And our faith comes not only by the ear; our senses 
contribute unto it that we may say in some sense, with 
the beloved disciple, that we have not only heard, but 
have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon it, and 
our hands have handled the word of life. It is true, 
there might have been contrived a more sensible resem- 
blance, and tragical representation of the death of Christ. 
That spectacle represented upon the scene, would per- 
haps a^ct our senses and fancy more, and might sooner 
draw tears from our eyes, and occasion some warm and 
aflectionate passion. But it is a mean and low devotion 
that is seated in the inferior faculties of the soul, which 
outward objects do excite by their natural strength, 
withoHt the exercise of the sonPs considering and me,4- 
itatiu^ powers. And therefore (as one liath well observ- 



196 A PREPARATION I'OH THE 

«d) " the representjitioii of Christ's death in thesacra^- 
ment is so oidered, that it might bothjielp the soiil> and 
leave it something to do in forming its own apprehen- 
sion; and resentmoit." In it we see so much as to 
awaken our soals, but not so much as to keep them 
awake without themselves. The outward object serves 
to excite our faith; but then leaves it to its proper exer- 
cise and empk>yment. Faith takes the hint which 
sense doth give it, and in the sacramental bread and 
wino can behold the blood and wounds of our bless- 
ed Saviour. It placeth us, as it were, at the foot of his 
cross, and makes us observe the whole transaction. 
And thus that holy ordinance we are to celebrate, pre- 
sents to our view the wbnderful redemption of mankind, 
which shall be the admiration of men and angels to all 
eternity: so that, if there were not more, on this account 
we might say in some sense, To-morrow the Lord will 
do wonders among you. 

But this is not all. This sacrament doth not only 
represent a wonder that is already past, but exhibits one 
anew. The bread and wine that we receive, are not 
bare and empty signs, to put us in mind of the death 
and sufferings of Christ. Our Saviour calls them his 
body and blood: and such, without question, they are, 
to .ail spiritual purposes and- advantages. We are not 
obliged to believe, that after consecration, the bread and 
wine do vanish, and the body and blood of Christ iite- 
ceed in their room: our sense and reason do assure as 
of the contrary 4 the scriptures doth nowhere affirm it, 
nor did ever the ancient church believe it: nor is it pos- 
sible to conceive the use or benefit of this strange and 
unintelligible change. It is the Spirit that quickeueth, 
the tiesh profiteth nothing. These words of our Sa- 
viour, are spirit and life, are to be understood in a vital 
and spiritual sense. But though these elements be not 
changed in their nature and substance, yet they under- 
go a mighty change as to their efficacy and use; and 
that food which before could yield but little refreshment 
to the body, is now become a mean to nourish and 



HOLY «ACaAMKNT. 197 

Strengthen the son], an instrament to convey nnto ns all 
those bleasings that the body and blood of onr Saviour 
can af&rd vs. 

As nnder the law a part of some sacrifices was burnt 
on the altar, and a part was eaten by those for whom 
they were offered — so our blessed Saviour, having offer- 
ed up himself on the altar of the cross, as a propitiation 
ifbr the'sins of men, did substitute these holy symbols in 
place of his body and blood, that we, by feasting on 
them, might get an interest in that sacrifice, and be par- 
takers of the atonement that was made, and the pardon 
that was purchased, by him. 

Again, in this sacrament, Christ doth convey himself 
intd the souls of men, and taketh stronger possession of 
them. As after the sop Satan entered into Judas, so 
with these holy elements Christ entereth into the hearts 
of his people, becomes the food and nourishment of 
their souls; he diffuseth himself through all their facul- 
ties, and animates them with his lite and spirit; that 
they may have no will or affections or their own, no 
desires or inclinations different iirom his; but that every 
pulse may answer the motions of his heart, and all their 
powers be actuated and enlivened by his Spirit: in .a 
word, that it may not be any more they, but Christ 
that liveth in them. Thus are we fed and nourished by 
the body and blood of Christ, '^hite the power of the 
Godhead, doth diffuse its virtue and operation into the 
human nature, to the enlivening the hearts of those who 
do rightly receive these sacramental pledges. 

And thus I hope yon see what wonders the Lord is 
to do among us. It was a signal miracle he wrought at 
the feast, when he turned water into wine; but sure it 
is a greater and more important one, to turn bread and 
wine into his body and blood, in that sense we have 
been explaining. It was a great matter to feed a mul- 
titude with a few loaves and small fishes; but a greater 
it is, to make a little bread and wine become a mean 
of nourishment to so many souls. And, were our eyes 
opened to the discerning of spiritual things, we should 
see greater thing!$ wrought, and more gracious miracles 
17* 



108' A PREPARATION) &C. 

performed, by the body and biood of our Saviour, than 
those which were done by the touch of his sacred body, 
while he lived here among men. I shall conclude this 
point in the wordu of St. Chrysostom, only desiring 
they may be understood according to what hath been 
already said, making some allowance for the rhetorical 
and hyperbolic style, Otav iS'm to? kv^igv 'rtBu/umcv, 
&c. "When thou dost behold the Lord of glory offer- 
ed up, and the priest performing the sacrifice, and the 
people round about .dyed and made red with that pre- 
cious blood, where, I pray thee, dost thou conceive 
thyself to be? Canst thou think thou art yet upon 
earth, and conversing amongst mortal creatures; or art 
thou not rather on a sudden transported into heaven? 
Dost thou not lose all thoughts of tne body, and with a 
pure mind, and naked soul, behold the things that are 
done above?" O the wonderful mercy and goodness 
of God! He who sitteth with the Father above, is at 
the same thne present here below, and gives himself to 
all who will receive and embrace him. Compare this, 
if you will, with another miracle. Imagine you see 
the great Elias with an infinite number of people about 
him, the sacrifice laid u^on the stones, and all the rest 
quiet and silent, while the prophet poureth forth his 
prayers, then the fire coming down on a sudden from\ 
heaven, and consuming the sacrifice. Truly these 
things are strange, and full of wonder: but yet are far 
inferior to our sacred and tremendous m^teries; for here 
the priest doth not bring fire, but the Holy Ghost: he 
prayeth not that a flame may descend from heaven to 
consume the holy things before him, but that the divine 
grace, influencmg the sacrifice, may thereby inflame the 
hearts and souls of all the people, and render them more 
pure than silver tried in the fire. Doubtless, when these 
sacred and venerable mysteries are performing, the holy 
angels do^stand by, and the place is full of blessed and 
glorious spirits, who delight to look and pry into them; 
and a]l the orders of the heavenly host shout, and raise 
their voices together. 

[ The rest is wanting. J 



THE MINI8TERIAI< rVNCTIOlT. 199 



OP THE IMPORTANCE AND DIFFICULTY OF THE 
MINISTERIAL FUNCTION. 

[ Preached before the Synod of Aberdeen. ] 



2 COR. II. 16. 
Who is sufficient for these things! 

Reverend and dearljr beloved men, brethren, and 
fathers, It is one of the advantages of that peace and 
tranquillity wherewith Almighty God is pleased to bless 
this poor church, that the officers of it have liberty of 
assembling together on these occasions, for mntual as- 
sistance and counsel in the exercbe of their holy func- 
tion. And, indeed, if there were no matter of public 
deliberation, yet ought we gladly to embrace the oppor- 
tunity of seeing one another's faces, not only that we may 
maintain and ^express a brotherly correspondence and 
affection, but also that we may animate and excite one 
another unto greater measures of diligence and zeal; as 
coals, being gathered together, do mutually receive and 
propagate some new degrees of vigour and heat. This 
I have always looked upon as none of the meanest ad- 
.vantages of these sy nodical meetings; and shall think 
myself very happy, if my poor endeav4)ur8, in the per-* 
formance of this present duty, may, by the divine bles- 
sing, contribute any thing towards this excellent and 
desirable purpose. To this end, I have made choice of 
a text which I hope may afibrd us some useful medita- 
tions, for stirring up and awakening in our souls a deep- 
er sense of slhose great engagements under which we 
lie. . 

The blessed Apostle, in the former verse, and begin- 
ning of this, has been speaking of the different success 
the gospel did meet with among those to whom it was 
preached ; that it was not like those wekk and {is^rmless 



200 IMPORTANCrX AND DIFFXCUI^TV OF 

medicinea, which, if they do no- good, are snre to do 
no hurt; but like some perfumes wiiich are pomfortable 
and strengthening to the wholesome, but troublesome 
and noxious to the weak; so doth it prove a vital saYoor 
to those who receive and obey it, bat a most deadly 
poison to all who reject and despise it: For we are unto 
God a sweet savour of Christ, to them that are saved, 
and in them that perish; to the one we are a savour of 
death unto death, and to the other a savour of life unto 
life. And then he takes occasion to consider what a 
great matter it is to be employed in those administrations 
wherein the happiness and misery of mankind is so 
nearly confeerped, Ksti tiV ^tppoc «r*uT«t, &c.; and who ' 
is sumcient for these things? 

We shall not detain^ you with an ei^lication of the 
words. Two things, I conceive, aro implied in them: 
1. The importance; 2. The •difficulty of the Ministerial 
function. For if a business be of small concern, it is 
little matter who have the management of it; there is no 
great harm done if it miacarry ; any body is sufficient for 
that thing. On the oth^r hand, let the matter be never 
so weighty, if there be no difficulty in it, there needs no 
extraordinary endowments in those to whom it is com- 
mitted: common prudence and a little care will sn^ce; 
there is no likelihood that it can miscarry. But the 
work of the ministry is at once so important and so di& 
ficuit^— of so great consequence and so hard to be per- 
formed, that there is a great deal of reason for an em- 
phatic interrogation, Wlro is sufficient for these things? 

I. First, Let us fix otir thoughts awhile on the weight 
and importance of the ministry, and we shall find that 
it is a greater burden lying on our shoulders, than if the 
greatest affairs of this wx>r]d were devolved upon us, and ' 
we did hold up the pillars of the earth. This will ap- 
pear, whether we consider the relation we stand in to 
the Almighty God, or the charge of the flocks we have 
committed to us. 

- To begin with the first. That infinite Majesty which 
created, and doth continually uphold the earth, and all 
things in it, as the just owner and lord of the whole ere- 



THE MINISTERIAL FUNCTION, 201 

Ation, (for all are his semnt?, and must obey his will,) 
ia yet pleased to claim a special property in some things 
which he chooseth for himself, and employeth for pe- 
culiar designs: Nevertheless of old did he choose a bouse 
for himself, and a place to be called by his name. At 
Salem was his tabernacle, and hii^ dwelling-place in 
>Sion. The Lord loved the gates of Zion more tha» all 
the dwellings of Jacob. And the church, in all ages, 
hath thought it fit to separate some places from vulgar , 
and common use, and to appropriate them to the service 
of God. Again, Though all times and seasons do belong 
unto God, yet hath he set apart a day for his worship, 
and lianctified a sabbath for hiJ!n^elf. AU men were cre- 
ated for^the honour of God, and are infinitety obliged to 
serve him; yet, because the greatest part of mankind are 
too much engaged in worldly afiairs^ and have their souls 
fettered in the distracting cares of this life, and almost 
buried in their bodies, it hath pleased th^ divine wisdom 
to call forth a select number of men, who, being deliv- 
ered from those entanglemants, and having their minds 
more highly purified, and more peculiarly fitted for the 
offices of religion, may attend continually on that ver^ 
thing. Religion is every man's general calling; but it 
is our parlicuiar calling too: and, while the labourer is 
at his plough, the cra&man at his forge, and the mer- 
chant in his shop, t^e minister ought to be employed in 
the exercise of devotion, for the interest of advancing 
piety, and the honour of our Maker. My beloved, ye 
are deputed, as it were, by the whole creation, at least 
by the inferior world, to present their homage and ser- 
vice to God, and to praise him for all his works. You 
ought to maintain a correspondence between heaven and 
. earth, to deprecate the wrath of God, and avert his ven- 
geance and plagues from mankind. Your business is 
the same with that of the holy angels: you dwell in the 
house of God, and should be continually praising him. 
And this is an employment so holy, that, were our souls 
as pure as cherubs, as zealous and active as the blessed 
spirits that are above, we should yet have reason to 
cover our faces, and to be swallowed up in a deep sense 



202 IMPORTANCE AND DIFFICULTY OF 

of our own hisafliciency for th«se things. And- what rs 
sinful dust and ashes, that he should sUind in so near a 
relation unto the Lord of glory! What is man, O bless- 
ed God, that tliou shouldst choose hini, and canse him 
to Bpproach onto thee! that he should dwell in thy courts ; 
and be satisfied with the goodness of thy bouse, even of 
thin^ holy temple! The priesthood, under the law^ won 
a very sacred and venerable thing, and no profane hand 
might intermeddle with the meanest offices that belong- 
ed unto it. AIL. the zeal and seemingly religious care 
that Uzzah had for the tottering ark, served not to exr 
cuae his presumption, when he intruded upoh the Lev- 
itical function: but, certainly, as the gospel ministry is 
so much more excelletit and sublime, being intrusted 
with the administration of those holy mysteries which 
were but shadowed in the former — ^how pure and *lM>ly 
ought tliose lips to be, by which God speakfith unto his 
people, and by which they speak unto him; which sobie- 
times pronounce those pow^ful and effectual sentences 
of absolution and excommunication, that are so surely 
ratified in heaven: and those hands which are employed 
in the laver of regenehition, and to handle the bread of 
life! Hi sunt, (saith holy Chrysostora) de sacerd. 
lib. 3.) quibtts, &c. <^~These are the men that assist at 
the pangs of the new birth, and to whom baptismal re- 
generation is committed: by those we put on Christ, and 
are buried with the Son of God, and so become mem- 
bers of that blessed head. Upon which account the 8a» 
cerdotal function is more creditable than that of kings 
and princes; and we owe more honour unto priests, than 
utito parents themselves; for they have begotten us of 
blood, and of the will of the flesh; but these are the au- 
thors of that nativity which we have from God; that 
adoption, whereby, through grace, we become the chil- 
dren of the Most High." And, again, the same father, 
speaking of the sacerdotal power, expresses it in these 
terms: Qui terram incolunt, at que in ea veraaf^tuTy 
his commissum est, ut ea qua in ccelis sunt dispen- 
sent, &c. '* Men ihat live on earth, do dispense the 
things. that are in heaven; and are intrusted with a pow- 



TH* MINISTERIAL FtTNCTIOK. 20o 

er that neither angela nor archangels can pretend nnto: 
for to none of these was it said, What ye bind on earth, 
shall be bonnd in heaven. Earthly princes have the 
power of binding, bnt it is only the bodies of men. 
These bands that I speak of, take hold of the sonls of 
men, and reach onto the very heavens; so that God doth 
ratify above, what the prteit determines below; and his 
servants' decrees are ratified by their Lord. The Fa- 
ther hath given all judgment to the Son; but now, it 
seems, the Son does deliver it to the pastors of the 
chnrch. " And so eminent is this authority, that one 
would think the persons invested with it, must^needs be 
raised above the common condition of rhen, and ex- 
empted from human aifections, and, as it were, already 
placed in heaven." Thus for this holy father. Nor can 
1 pass b^ what he says of that inef&ble privilege of the* 
celebration of the holy sacrament, though some of his 
expressions, being figur&tive and hyperbolical, have been 
abused by the Romi^ party: Durn conspicis JDaminum 
in unmolatiojie, et saeerdotem sacrifido incumbent 
tenitkc, — "When thou dost behold the Lord of glory of- 
fered up, and the priest performing the sacrifice, and the 
people round about dyed, as it were, and made red with 
that precious blood;- where, I pray thee, dost thou con- 
ceive thyself to be? Dost thou think thou art on earth, 
and conversing among mortal creatures: or art thou not 
rather on a sudden transported into heaven? Dost thou 
not lose all thoughts of the body, and material things, 
aod with a pure mii^d, and naked soul, behold the 
thinp that are done in those regions above? And when 
the minister has invoked the divine Spirit, and perform- 
ed those reverend and dreadful mysteries, and holdeth 
the Lord of all things in his hand, tell me, I beseech you, 
in what order of tmngs we are to plape him? What up- 
rightness, what purity is required of him! what hands 
should they be that administer those things! what lipa 
that utter and pronounce those words! For at that time 
the holy angels stand by the priest; the place is full of 
blessed spirits, who desire to look into those things; and 
all the orders of the heavenly host ,do shout, and raise 



20(1 iMPO-ftTAIf^e AND DIFFICULTY OF 

their voice together, as we may easily believe* if we con- 
sidar the work that is then in hand.'* I cannot stand to 
relate all that thi^ excellent person speaketh to the same 
purpose,- but shall proceed to the next thing we pro- 
posed. 

The weight and importance of the ministerial func« 
tiouy considered in relatioi^ to the people committed 
to our charge. We are not intrusted with their fortune 
or estate, nor with their bodily health apd vvelfare, nor 
with the affairs of state, or the interest of kingdoms; 
though, indeed, religion bath no small influence on 
these, and the labours of ministers, if successful, would 
contribute exceedingly to the public tranquillity, and the 
present felicity of men. But our main business lieth an^ 
other way. We have to do with rational and immortal 
souls, those most noble and divine substances which 
proceeded from God, and are capable of being' united 
to. him eternally, but withal in hazard of being eter- 
nally separated from him) these ^/u9i0-C»T»^otTet tou 
ecou KAi J^xt/uevaVi as^ynesius calls them, these stakes 
between God and the devil: and on us it doth in some 
measure depend to whose share they shall fall, whether 
they shall be angels or fiends. We may say with rea- 
son of our work, what the painter did vainly boast of, 
Laboramiis atemitati: The impresses we mi^ke shall 
last for ever. My beloved, the most serious of our 
thoughts come very far short of the inestimable worth 
of the depositum, that treasojr^ which is committed to 
our care. He who did create and redeem the souls of 
men, doth best understand their value: and we see what 
esteem he putteth upon them, by the. pains he is pleased 
to take about them. Their salvation was contrived be-^ 
fore the mountains were brought forth, before the foun- 
dation of the earth was laid; the design was formed 
from all eternity; and glorious are the methqds by 
which it is accomplished. Hue magistrd lex tendit: 
hue, inter Christum et legem interjectiy prophet<Bt 
saith St. Greg. Naz. "At this both the law and the 
prophe|s did aim.'' Hue exinanita Deitas: hue as- 
sumpta caro; hue nova ilia mixtio. ** To this pur- 



THE- MINlSXfeRIAL TTfKCTlOfS. 205 

pose did the Deity empty itself, and was clothed with " 
the haman natare;^ to this purpose was that strange 
and wonderful conjunction, God and man united to- 
gether!" Hitherto did all the actions and all thesuf-- 
ferings of our blessed Saviour aim— /ox this he was born, 
an4 for this he did die., And shall wa undervalue the 
price of his blood, or think' it a small gutter to have 
the charge of those for whom it was Med? It is th» 
church of God we must oversee and feed ; thit church 
for which^ ther world is upheld, which is sanctified by 
the Holy Ghost, on which the angels themselves do at- 
tend. What a weighty charge is this we have under- 
taken ! Who is sttfEcient for these things? 

That these matter's may y^t take ,the deeper impres- 
sion on our hearts, let us farther consider the dieadful 
consequences of miscarriage in the discharge of the iqin- 
isterial function; and we shall $nd that it reflects a great 
deal of dishonour on the divmf Majesty, and on our bles- 
sed Saviour; that it doth very^uch hazard the souk of 
our people, and certainly ruins our own. I say, it doth 
reflect dbhouour on Almighty God, as the faults of ser- 
vants do commonly prejudice the reputation of their 
masters, and the failings of ambassadors are imputed to 
their prhices. We stand in a nearer relation to God, 
ani are supposed to be best acquainted with his will, 
and lo carry the deepest impressions of his nature on one 
minds. And ignorant people \vill entertain the meaner 
tbotights of the holiness of Go^, when they miss it ia 
those who are called his AvanU, iCertaaily it is no 
small reproach -which the Iftts or miscarriages of min- 
isters do bring upon the wa^' of godliness, and the holy 
religion we profess. It is no small aflront that is hereby 
put on the blessed author of it; greater, without ques- 
tion, than all the malice and spite of his open enemies 
is able to practise: for hereby he is crucified afresh, and 
put unto open shame. Afi(^0 how great is the hazard 
our poor people do run B'yi'p>ur negligence or failings, 
even a»much as the worth-H)Kttheir souls amounteth to! 
If the watchmen be liot faithful, and give not timely 
warning, the aword will reruiilv come, and the people 
18 ' 



206 XMPDRTAKfiE AVD DimCULTT OF 

be tftken away in their sins. Causa sunt ruina po- 
puli sacerdotes malt. Like people, like priests, will 
still be a proverb of a general truth. But if the negli- 
gence and miscarriage of a minister doth hazard tlie 
■ouls of otfaera, it doth certainly ruin his own; which 
made 8t. Chrysostom say, Equidem ex ecclesice 
ministris nm arhitror knultos servari; words so 
terrible, that Oremble to put them into English: and yet, 
if a man should speak fire, blood, and smoke — if flames 
conld come out of his mouth instead of words — ^if he had 
a voice like thunder, and an eye like lightning, he could 
not sofficiently represent the dreadful account that an un- 
faithful pastor shall make. What horror and confusion 
shall it cast them into at the last day, to hear the blood 
of the Son of God plead aeainst them — to hear our 
great master say. It was the purchase of my blood 
which ye did ne^ect! God died for these souls, of 
whom ye took so little pains! think not, therefore, to" 
be saved by that blood which ye have despised, or to 
escape the torments whereunto many others are plunged 
throueh your faults! By this time I hope i^ doth appear, 
that the work of the ministry is of great weieht and im- 
portance; that much -doth depend on the right discharg- 
ug of it; and that miseanyiug in it is the moat danger- 
cos thins in the world. 

II. The second thing we -had to speak to, is the 
difficulty of managing this charge aright And this will 
appear, if we consider, 1. The end and design of the 
ministerial function: 2. The impediments we have to 
overcome in the prosecution of that end: and, S. The 
several sorts of duties and exercises incumbent upon us. 
As for the first — The great business of our calling is, to 
advance the divine life in the world; to make religion 
sway and prevail; frame and mould the souls of men 
into a conformity to God, and superinduce the beautiful 
lineaments of his blessed image upon them; to enlighten 
their understandings, and inform their judgments, rectify 
their wilhi, and order their passions, and sanctify all 
thi^r affections. The world lieth in sin: and it is our 
wjorkto awaken men out of their deadly sleep — to res- 



TH£ MINISTERIAL FUNCTION. 207 

cue them oat of that cKsmal condition. We are the 
instranicnts of God for effecting these great desigiw; 
and thottgb we be not accountable for the succeas, when 
we have dbne wliat lieth in our power, yet nothing be* 
low this should be our aun; and we sbonld never cease 
our endeavours, until that gracious change be.wrougfat jn 
every, person committed to our charge. And, if any 
thiiik this an easy work, let them pitch on some peison 
of their acquaintance, whom they know to be addicted 
-to some one particular vice, and try whether it be easy 
to reclaim him. Persuade the dru^id, if you oan« to 
forsake his cups; the covetous wretch, to pait with hiv 
money; reason but the wild gallant into serious thoughts, 
and a grave and sober deportment; try to purge your 
neighbourliood of gross crimes, and scandalous vices; 
and persuade those that live about you, to live at least 
as becomes men. fn this you have the advantage of 
dealing wi^h that self-love, which does prevail in- them. 
You may easily convince them that the practice of these 
virtues you recommend, would contribute much to their 
temporal felicity, to those interests of pleasure, advan- 
tage, and honour, Ut which they have the greatest r^ 
gard— and yet you shall find even Jthis task not easy to 
be perfprmed. But to raise men unto the greatest 
heights of mortification and self-denial; to make them 
truly humble, meek, and resigned to the will of God; 
to overpower tliat selfish principle which is so deeply 
rooted in the -constitution of our souls, and doth so 
readily insinuate itself into all our aflnctions and designs; 
to set divine love and universal charity upon the throne^ 
that^he honour of God, and the welure of others, may 
be as dear unto men as their own concerns; to have re- 
ligion become another nature unto them, and they, as it 
were, a living law unto themselves: this, this is so great 
and wonderful a change, that, as only omnipotence is 
able to produce it, so certainly they have a mighty (ask 
who are employed as instruments in it. 

Again, let me appeal to the conscience and experi- 
ence of every one, what difficulty they find in dealing 
with their own souls, in regulatitig their own passions. 



20S IMPORTANCE AND DIFFICULTY OF 

and in mortifying their own corrupt affections: yet here 
we b&ve the advantage of a nearer application; we cab 
carry home Oar reasons with more force upon ourselves 
than others; oar thoughts and meditations must be more 
dear aiid lively than our words and expressions are.' 
If it be hard, then, to persuade ourselves to be good, it 
is sure much harder to persuade others to be so. 

Consider, in the next place, the enemies ive have to 
encounter with, which oppose the design of our em- 
pIoymeiKts. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, 
but ligainst principalities and powers. All the forces of 
hell are up in arms again^ us — all the powers of dark- 
riess do continually oppose us; and little do we know 
those hidden arts whereby these accursed spirits do ap- 
ply themselves to the souls of men, to suggest and insin- 
uate their temptations. The world ,^ also, with all its 
cares and pleasures, is daily fighting against us; and 
there is no estate or condition in it, but what is sur- 
rounded with a thousand temptations. The poor are so 
much taken up in providing for the necessities of this 
life, that thev can hardly be persuaded to think upon 
another. The rich are commonly drowned in sensual 
pleasures; and our Saviour tells us, It is easier for a 
camel* to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich 
man to enter into tb^ kingdom of heaven. The in- 
fluence of sensual objects is very ^strong. And though 
the possessions of the other world her as far beyond our 
enjoyments here, as this world is above nothing; yet, 
because the things of this world are present, and are 
ever and anon oflering themselves unto us, and bearing 
upon our senses, therefore they do too frequently prevail 
against all the persuasions of reason and religion too. 
And what shall we say of the evil company and bad 
example that inveigles the souls of men? We, per- 
haps, see them once a week, tiud bring them to some 
degree of sohriety, and a sound mind; but then their 
wicked neighbours, and the companions of their sin, do 
meet them every day, and, by their counsel' and exam- 
ple, obliterate any good impression that has been made 
upon them: and hereby. we lose more in a week, than 



THE MINISTEEtAL riTlTCTION. 209 

we are able to recover in b whole year. Bat the great* 
est enemies we have, are those within the soak of men: 
their depraved affections, their lusts and cormpt incli- 
nations. When physicians undertake the core of bedi- 
ly distempers, they have the consent of the party; he 
is ready 4o comply with their prescriptions. But our 
greatest difficnlty is in dealing with the wills of men, 
and making them consent to be cored. They hog the 
disease, ai^ shnn the medicine as poison, and have no 
desire to be well. Hence it is, they tlo aU they can to 
keep as strangers tQ their souls^ and take ua mnch pains 
16 conceal theiir inward distempers, as they ought to do 
in revealing them. We have justly shaken off the ty- 
ranny of the Romish confession: but, alas! our people 
go too far in the other extreme; and* because they are 
not obliged to tell, every thing to their pastors, in efiect 
they acquaint them with nothing at all. Perhaps some 
persons, lying under some terrors and trouble of mind, 
may apply themselves unto us, to give vent to the fire 
that burneth within them; but otherwise they content 
themeelves to see us in the pulpit, and care not how lit- 
tle we be acquainted with their temper and way. It 
will be long ere any come to tell us, that they find 
themselves proud, or passionate, or revengeful, and in- 
quire bow they shall get these vices subdued; that they 
are covetous and uncharitable, and beseech us to tell 
. them how they shall amend ; to acquaint us with tlieir 
temptations, and to learn the -fittest methods to oppose 
them. We are seldom troubled with addresses of this 
nature; and it is hard to do any thing towards a cure, 
when they will not Ictus know the dtisease. 

The difficulty of the ministerial function will further 
appear, if we will consider the several duties and exer- 
cises of it. We shall but touch at some of them at 
present, and may perhaps have occasion to speak more 
in the application. 

Catechising is a necessary but painful one. It is 

no small toil, to tell the same things a thousand times to 

some dull and ignorant people, who, perhaps, shall 

know but little when we have done. It b this labori- 

18* 



210 IMPORTANCE. AX D DimCULTY OF 

oBfl exerciae that does gometioie8 tempt a niiniHter to 
«BTy the condition of those who gain their living hy 
the sweat of their brows, without the toil and distract 
tion of their spirits. 

Preaching is an exercise that ^n^iany are ambitions 
of, and none more than those that are' least qualified 
for it; and, it is probable, the desire of this liberty isr 
no snoall temptation to some of oar giddy people to go 
over to that sect and party, where all fanksy. and /both 
eexes, are allowed the satisfaction to hear themselves 
talk in public. But it is not so easy a matter to per- 
form tms task aright; to stand in the presence of God^ 
and to speak to his people in his name^ with that plain- 
ness and simplicity, that seriousness and gravity, that 
zeal and concern, which the business requires: to ac- 
commodate ourselves to the capacity of the common 
people, without disgusting our more knowing hearers 
by the insipid flatness of our discourse; to iexcite and 
awaken drowsy «ouls, without terrifying, and di^uibing 
more tender consciences: to bear home the convictions 
of sin, without the appearance of some personal reflec- 
tion; in a word, to approve ourselves unto God as work- 
men that need not bC ashamed, rightly dividing the 
word of truth. 

Discipline is an edged tool ; and they had need be 
no fools that meddle with it. It is a hard thing to man- 
age the processes of the censures of the church with 
such care and prudence, -that may neither encourage 
flagitious persons by our remissness, nor tempt to irri- 
tate others by needless severity, nor give advantage to 
captions and troublesome men for want of some legal 
formality. 

But certainly the greatest and most difRcnIt work. of 
a ro'inister is, in applying himself pailicnlarly to the sev- 
eral persons under his charge; to acquaint himself with 
their behaviour, and the temper of their souls; to redress 
what is amiss, and prevent ' their future roiscarriofes. 
Without this private work, his other endeavours will do 
little good. And, considering the groat variety that is 
among the humours and di»pof.ition.s of men, (e<][ual, al- 



THE MlJflBTKRtAS, FUNCTJOX* 211 

. moflt, 10 that of their faeoB,) thjjp most needs be an in- 
finite labour. It ib the art of arts, (saith Gregory Na- 
zianzen in his Apologetic Oration,) and the most diffi- 
cult of all sciences, to govern such a manifold and 
various creature as man. And another Gr^ry h^th 
vnritten a whol^tractate of the diversity there is amongst 
men's tempers, and the several ways of dealing with 
them. What a martyrdom is it for some modest and 
bashful tempers, when they find tfaemseWes obliged to use 
freedom and severity in reproving the faults of those who, 
in quality or age, are above themselves! And, O what 
a hard matter it is to deal with people that are ready to 
leave the world, and step in upon eternity; when their 
souls do, as it were, hang on their lips, and they have 
one foot (as we use to say) already in the grave. The 
minister is seldom sent for till the physician has given 
the patient over; and then they beg him to dress their 
souls for heaven, when their windingsheet is preparing, 
and their friends are almost ready to dress the body for 
the funeral. Now, though some of these have lived 
welty-^and, like the wise viigins, have oil in their lamps 
— yet it is a great matter to calm them, and to dispose 
their souls for that great change they are presently to 
undergo. 'But, alasl it fares otherwise with the greatest 
part. They are yet strangers to the ways of religion, the 
work of their salvation is yet to begin, and their lusts to 
be jnortified, their corruptions subdued, the whole frame 
of their souls to be changed: and though they have scarce 
sa much strength as to turn them on their beds, yet 
their warfare against principalities, powers, and spiritual 
wickedness is bu^ newly commenced; their work is . 
great, their di9ad\'antRges many, and the time very short 
that is before them. Perhaps they are dull and insensi^ 
ble, and we shall hardly persuade them of their danger. 
They will acjcnowledge they are sinners, and so are all 
others, as well as they: they trust to the mercies of 
Christ, and have confidence enough of their salvation; 
and cannot be persuaded they want any thing that is 
necessary for the same. Others of these, again, are 
seized with t}ear, and, call for the minister to comfort 



212 IMPOKTANCX AND DirriGULTY Of 

them. Wliat shall he do^ Shall he tell them that all 
their terrors are jast, and it is now too late to repent? 
I know some divines are peremptory m this case, and 
think they should be left in despair: but, sure, it were a 
sad employment fof* a minister, to go to visit a dying 
man, only to tell htm he is damned; and withal it is too 
great boldness in ns, to limit the grace and mercy of 
God. True and sincere repentance wUl never come too 
late; bat, eertainiy, a deathbed repentance is seldom 
sincere: and it is hard either for die minister, or the 
man himself, to tell whether it be only the fear of hell, 
or a true and godly sorrow that he feeleth in his soul. 
All that a minister can do, is, to press him to aU pos- 
sible seriousness, and to resign himself to God for the 
event; or to lay before him, in general, the terms and 
conditions of the gospel-covenant: tho applicatipn will 
be hard and' uncertain. 

These, and many more, ure the difficulties of the 
ministerial function. It waff not without a great deal of 
reason that one of the fathers did call it, Chius angelu 
cis humeris formidandum: * * A weight under which 
angels' shoulders might shrink." Hence it was, that 
the holy men of old have been so mightily afraid to un- 
dertake it. ■ Jeremiah, who was sanctified from the 
womb, and ordained a prophet to the nations, when he 
received his commission, he cried out, Ah! Lord God, 
behold, 1 cannot speak, for I am a child. And Ezekiel 
though strengthened and confirmed by God, yet went 
unwillingly; yea, in the bitterness and indignation of his 
spirit , And, in the ancient church, the more ^ eminent 
and great persons were in piety and worth, the more 
sensible they were of the greatness of this chai^ge, and 
the more loth to engage in it.' Some of them have fled 
into the mountains and deserts, or hid themselves in the 
dens and caverns of the earth; and were more afraid to 
be laid hands on by the bishop, than by the most bloody 
persecutors. Three times did Ambrose flee from Milan ; 
and it is reported, that after he had travelled hard all 
night, he found himself next morning at the outer gate of 
that city he endeavoured to avoid. Gregory Naziai^en, 



THE MlNI8TERtAI« FETNCTlON. 213 

being taken in his flight, and ordained b-y force, did com- 
pose that, excellent oration which is at the beginning of 
his works; wherein he doth so wdl express the greatness 
and the danger tff the ministry, that the reading of it 
(and I wish it were frequently and attentiyeiy read) 
might, I think, do much\o quell the confidence of the 
most confident intruders: Augustine entered, by chance, 
into the church of Hippo, just as the bishop Valerius was 
speaking to the people concerning the choice of a mini»- 
ter, of whom they stood in great need. He was pres« 
ently pitched upon, and almost ordained by force, after 
he had, with tears, deprecated the charge; and, in these 
strange terms: Qteik/ vultis ut pereain) intimating the 
hazard he should thereby mn. And Chrysostoip pro- 
fessetb of himself, that, when he was chosen to a bish* 
opric, his soul and body were almost parted asunder, so 
great was the grief and fear that seized 'upon his spirits; 
and that he did many times wonder how it had ever en- - 
tered into the mindd of those that chose him, or what 
great offence that church had been guilty of, which had 
provoked God to buffer it tu be committed to such an 
unworthy person. So sensible were these excellent men 
of the difficulties of this holy function, even in those . 
first and golden ages of the church; and certaiidy they 
are much augmented to us,' who live in these dregs of 
time, wherein religion is almost banished out of the 
world, the principles of it called in question by nciany 
pretenders to judgment and wit, and the piactice not 
only neglected but derided; in'somuch that men are 
frighted from godliness by the contempt that lieth upon 
it: Mali esse coguntur, ne ridiculi fiant,. We have 
a world of wickedaess to fight against; and who is 
sufficient for these things! ' 

Thus, having prosecuted the impdHance of the text, 
it is time \6 make some application of it; And, -fifst, I 
shall address myself to those of the laity who vouchsafe 
us their presence, that they may not think their time 
mispent in some hours of attendance. 

You see, dear people, what a weighty and difficult 
charge they have to whom your souls, are committed. . 



214 IMPOSITANCS.AND DIFFICULTY OF 

Whence is it, thep, that §oine of you accoiint the min- 
kterial function the most useless employment in ihe 
commonwealth, and that .which might be most easily 
spared? and that miuiateta have easy lives, gaining their 
living by the breath of their mouths, as some of yon are 
pleased to word it? Whence is it that this holy calling 
comes to be so much despised, and that the. names of 
Minister, Parson, or Pnest, are become words of igno- 
miny and contempt? And whatever advantages of birth 
and education a minister may have, yet his employment 
is thought enough to degrade him» and put him below 
every one that can pretend to the name of a gentle- 
man? 

Again, how comes it that those small gleanings of 
the church's patrimony, which sacrilege and oppression 
have left us, should yet be envied, and looked upon 
with an evil eye; and that a clergyman, who has spent 
hij^ timo» and much of his fortune, in the schools of the 
pfrophcts, to fit himself for that emplovment wherein he 
may be most beneficial to mankind, snould yet be taor- ' 
ligned for a small aimuity during life, which, perhaps, 
amounts not to the gains of the meanest tradesman? 
And yet, if those persons had chosen another employ- 
ment — had taken Galen or Justinian for their masters, 
perhaps they would have had parts anjd abilities sufficieot 
to have advanced themselves to' wealth and honours,. as 
v^U as others, and would not have been envied for it. 
My beloved, I account him not worthy of the name of 
a minister of Christ, who cannot patiently sutler injury, 
contempt, and envy. But certainly it is no good part in 
the people, to put these upon them: it is a s£u:ewd token 
that they have Br small regard to piety and religion, and 
that their own souls arie the things about them for which 
they have .the least concern. I^eam, I be^ech yon, 
dear Christians, learn to take more rational measures of 
things. Think how much you are indebted to the divine 
goodness, which hath taken so great care of your ever- 
lasting happiness, as to set apart an order of iqen, whoso 
business it shall be to promote and advance it. Do all 
that yoa can to encourage and assist them in their work; 



THE MINISTERIAL VITNGTIOir. 215 

give them the enconragetn^nt of your constant atten- 
donee, and aasiBt them^ by helping to instruct those 
children and servants who are under your several chan- 
ges. Apply yonrselves frequently to them for advice 
and direction, and be oilen putting up that important 
question, What shall we do t6 be saved? Yield them 
that submission and obedience which is due Unto them 
in the Lord. Go not to church to sit as judges, and 
censure the sermon when yon return. If you be not 
pleased with it, your ignorance or indisposition' may be 
- thQ cause^ and modesty should oblige you to silence. 
If you be taken with what you have heard, spend not 
your time in talk about it; prabtice is the best way t<r 
commend it Beware of that spiritual pride and con- 
ceitedness, which makes the people to strive with their 
priests; which the prophet Hosea notes as an heinous 
sin. Finally, to sum up your, duty in the Aposfle^s 
words, Obey them^hat have the rule over you, and sub- 
niit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they 
that nrast give account: that they may do it with joy, 
and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for yon. 
■ I might, in the next ^lace, take an occasion from 
what luth been said, to press the great obligation that 
lieth on patrons of churches, to seek out, and to make 
choice of those whom they judge to be best qualified for 
-fio high -and weighty a charge; and might >shbw, that it is 
no small guilt that he draws upon himself, who presents a 
person to the care of souls, of whose prudence and fideli- 
ty it mav be he hath so little confidence, that he durst not 
intrust him with the management of Iris fortune, or the 
tutory of his child; while, perhaps, othera are overlook- 
ed, that might be capable to do much more service in 
the church, merely because they have not the good luck 
to be related or recommended to the patron, or because 
they have less money, or more conscience than to bar- 
gam for the living. But I forbear thb: and shall crave 
liberty of this venerable auditory, to take this occasion of 
doing something that relates to my peculiar functi6n, in 
speaking a little to those sons of the prophets, those 
candidates of holy orders, whose diligence and study aim 



216 IMPORTANCE AN© ©IFFIClTLTy OF 

at the koinistry, and who fire to be anployed in the vine- 
yard of God, when the present labourers shall be caU- 
«d off to receiye their reward. Yon see, sirs, whiat a 
dreadfal and important charge it is to which yon aspire. 
Consider, I beseech yon, what great pains ate necessary 
to fit and qualify .you fpr it. Ordinary callings are not 
learned without a long apprenticeship, and will the art 
of governing souls be learned on a sadden? It is not 
know^ledge of controversy, or the gift of eloquence, 
much less a strong voice and bold confidence that will 
qualify you for it. The errora that abound among us, 
. make it necessary, indeed,'that you should know how to 
deal with the adversaries; for the clergy are many times 
put to the pass the Jews were, at the building of the. 
second temple; with one hand they must build the house 
of God, and with the other they must, hold a weapon: 
yet certainly your greatest work lies within, in purifying 
your minds, and le^imlng that wisdom which is necessary 
for souls. Begin then, I pray you, and preach to your 
passioQS, and try what good you can do to your' friends 
and neighbours. Study that gravity and seriousness, 
that humility and self-denial, that purity and mortifica- 
tion, that becometh those who may one day stand in so 
near a relation to God, and bear so eminent a chai^ 
in his church. Be not too hasty and forward in rushing 
into publib; it is better you be drawn than run. . Nazi- 
anzen complains of some in his time, who, with profane 
hearts and unwashed hands, did rush into the holy fane- . 
tion, and, before they were fit to receive the sacrament, 
would take upon them to celebrate it; and though they 
be not come unto the age of men, if they have learned - 
some pious words, think themselves fit to be overseers 
of others: O prafecturum! elaium animum! Saeer 
etiam a cunabulis Samuel! Sapientea et magiatri 
sumus! This, I say, was the humour of some in his 
days; and I am afraid the ease is. not much better in 
ours. But if you be truly sensible of what you are to 
nndt^rtake, you would think no time too much, to be 
HBpent in preparation for it. 

It remains yet tliat I address myself briefly to you. 



THE MurrarsHfAL rvttcTiOft. fl7 

my Reverend brethfen, and Right ReTei«iid fatbeia 
We have been endeavouring to lay before yoa the Sm- 
fMHlance and difficulty of your employment; and yon 
know them much better than we ean tell you. Bnl 
these thingi ought not to discourage you, or make yoa 
faint 4uider the weight, but rather to animate and excite 
your carer As Alexander said once of an eminent has* 
aid he had encountered, that now he had met with a 
danger worthy his courage: so may I say of your work, 
that it is a business worthy your zeal, and the love and 
afiection which you owe unto your blessed master. And, 
indeed, you can give no greater testimony of it, thui by 
a faithful and conscientious dischaige of the duties of 
your calling. If your work is great, your reward is in- 
finitely greater: and you have Omnipotence engaged in 
your assistance. Up and be doing, and the Lord shall 
be with yoii: only let us be careful to mamtain such a 
deep and constant sense of the engagements we lie un- 
der, as^may awaken us unto the greatest diligenee and 
watchftflness, both over ounielvflB and others. - 

As for the particulars of your duty, 1 dare not take 
upon me to be an instructer, who have much more need 
to learn my own; yet, since I am not> placed here to be 
altogether silent, I shall offer to you the Apostle's ex- 
hortation to Titus, chap. ii. 15., and takc^the liberty to 
insist a little upon the particulars of it: These things 
epeak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let 
no man despire thee. These things speak. Here he 
pointeth at that which ought to be the matter of our 
doctrine and instruction. We are not to entertain our 
people with su^^tle speculation^, metaphysical niceties, 
perplexed notions, and foolish questions, which engender 
strife; but let us speak the things which become sound 
doctrine. I^t us frequently inculcate the great and uiw 
controverted truths of our religion^ and trouble our peo- 
ple no farther with controversy than necessity doth re* 
quire. Let us study to acquaint them with the tenor of 
the gospel-covenant, and what they must do to be saved; 
to inform them of the particular duties they owe both 
to God and man: for the Apostle had before been speak- 
19 



218 IMPORTANCE AWD DIFFICULTY OF 

ing of the dnties to be recommended to every one ac- 
cording to their several capacities and relations. And, 
indeed, it were not amiss, that in catechising, ministers 
would bring home the articles of faith by practical im- 
provements, both teaching men their particolar duties, 
and pressing them to the performance. But it is not 
enough to speak these things — ^lo tell men what is in- 
cumbent upon them: we must, besides, endeavour to 
excite and stir them up, by the most powerful and ef- 
fectual persuasions; the judgment being informed, we 
must do all to influence the affections: and this is the 
proper use of our preaching; which, though it be over- 
valued by those who place all 'religion in hearing, yet 
certainly it is of excellent use, and ought to be managed 
with a great deal of care. Let the matter be weighty 
and grave, the method plain and clear, the expressioa 
neither soaring on the one hand, nor too familiar on the 
other. Some good men are not aware what contempt 
they draw on religimi by their coanse and homely allu- 
-sions, and the silly and trivial proverbs they make use of. 
Nor should our ■ expressions ' be too soft or effeminate, 
nor our pronunciation afiected or childish. Religion is 
a rational and manly thing; and we should strive to 
recommend it with the greatest advantage. But, above 
all, let us study such a zeal and fervour, as, flowing 
from the deep sense of the thing we speak, and being 
regulated with prudence and decency, may be fittest to 
reach the hearts of the hearers. The vulgar that com- 
iponly sit under the pulpit, (as the excellent Herbert 
speaks,) are commonly as hard and dead as the seats 
they sit on, and need a mountain of fire to kindle them. 
The best way is, to preach the things first to ourselves, 
and then frequently to recollect in whose presence we 
are, and whose business we are dpihg. And I think it no 
small advantage that some of a neighbouring nation have, 
who make some considerable pause when tliey have done 
with a point, that they may raise their souls towards 
God, and that the peof)le may renew their attention. 
But when we have done all that we can by public 
and general exhortation, we shall effectuate very little 



THE MINISTERIAL FUNCTION. 210 

without a more particalar application to the persons . 
under our charge. Interest and self-iove will blind the 
eyes» and stop the ears of men, and make them shift oiT 
from themselves those admonitions from the pnlpit that 
are displeasing: and therefore we are commanded not 
only to teach and exhort, but also to rebuke with all ao- 
thority. . Now, those whom we are to rebuke, are either 
persons of a different persuasion^ who dissent from our re- 
ligion, or withdraw from ourx>rdinanceg; and these must 
be dealt with very patiently, and with much long suf- 
fering. It is not to be expected, that an hasty confer- 
ence, or an abrupt disputation, should prevail withtliose 
who have been long habituated to false persuasions, and, 
perhaps, have drunk them in with the first of their se- 
rious thoughts, and religious inclinations. We must first 
study to combat the perverseness of their will, the pre- 
judices of the world, the desire of victory and applause, 
their pre-engagement in a party, and their shame and 
unwillingness to yield; and strive to render them meek 
and pliable, and sincerely desirous to know the truth. 
When we have obtained this, they will be bo^h more 
easily convinced, and more inexcusable, if through weak- 
ness they still continue in their errors. But let us never 
rest in having drawn over a person to our party, till we 
have engaged him to seriousness in the practice of reli- 
gion; for if he continue a stranger to that, it is little 
matter whether he be Protestant or Papist, Pagan or 
Mahometan, or any thing else in the world: nay, the 
better his religion is, the more dreadful will his condeui- 
nation be. It was an excellent saying of an eminent 
and holy person yet alive in our church, " That he 
would jrather be instrumental in persuading one man to 
be serious in religion, than the whole nation to be con- 
formists." The other sort of persons we have to re- 
buke, are those of our own religion, for the vices and fail- 
ings of their lives. And this must be done with a great 
deal of courage and zeal — of prudence and discretion — of 
meekness and love. More knowing and ingenious per- 
sons may be dealt with sometimes by secret insinua- 
tions, and oblique reflections on the vices they are guilty 



MO IMP0&TA9GE AND DIFFICtTLTT OF ' 

of; and we may sometimes seek a way to reprove their 
faUings, by regretting and condemning our own. Bat 
that artifice is not necessary with the vulgar: having pro- 
fessed onr love and good intentions, it will be best fo fall 
ronndlv to the matter. Now this does sappose a great 
deal of eare, to acquaint pnrselves with the humonrs and 
conversation of our people; and the name of watchmen 
that is given us, implieth no lessu And though the 
lamentable vastness of some of onr charges make it im- 
possible to do all that we could wish, yet must we not 
fail to do lUl that we can. It is an excellent practice 
of some I have the happiness to be acquainted with, 
who seldom miss any day wherein they do not apply 
themselves to some or other of their people, and treat 
about the afiaini of their souls. 

Another thing vfhi^ may be implied in rebuking 
with all authority, is7%e conscientious exercise of that 
authority which Christ hath given us in the public cen- 
sures aira rebukes of the church. But of this I. shall say 
no more, save only that it were an intolerable presump- 
tion, and horrid sacrilege, to make use of these to serve 
the ends of our passion and private revenge. . 

The last clause of the passage we cited, sounds some- 
what strange: Let no man despise thee. Sure nobody ^ 
desires to be despised; and it is not always in the power 
of man to hinder it. But the meaning of the words is, 
that there should be nothing in our carriage and deport- 
ment which may deserve contempt. We ought still to 
have that apology of the orator in readiness: Quid put-' 
em? eontemptumne me? Equidem noh video quid sit 
in vita moribusque nostris quod despicere possit. 
There is nothing that doth expose a minister to so much 
contempt, as a vicious and irreligious deportment. Even 
those who are profane themselves, and love vice in their 
other companions, do yet abhor it in a clergyman, as 
thinking it too gross and disingenuous, to practise all the 
week what he hath been condemning on Sunday. 1= 
shall not insist upon the grosser sort of vices. JVolo 
tarn male ominari de ecclesia: I would not bode so 
much evil to the church, as to imagine the clergy capa- 



THE MINISTERIAL FtTWCTIOir. 2^ 

We of them. I sball point but to a few things, which, 
though leas heinous iiS their nature^ tend to the contempt 
and disrespect of the clergy. 

And first, the least imputation of covetousness doth a 
great deal of mischief this way^ And you know it will 
be reckoned covetousness in you, which is not so m oth- 
ers. Yott will be more blamed for taking your own, 
than they for encroaching on their neighboura. And 
therefore, to prevent this imputation, so far as the mean- 
ness of a minister's provision, and necessity of his fam- 
ily, will pertnit, ha should show himself frank and liber- 
al in his dealing, especially with the poorer fort. 

Another occasion of contempt is, the too much fre- 
quenting the company of the laicks, and a vain and trif- 
ling conversation among them. It was a wise saying, 
whoever he was that spoke it, Qtiotidiana clericorum 
cum laicis eonversatio eontemptibiles ipsos reddit 
And that of Hierom to Nepotian is very observable, 
F(fcilc contemnitur elerieus si ad prandium invita- - 
tu8 scepius veniat. A minister, in his conversation, 
ought carefully to avoid all foolish and excessive jesting, 
and immoderate mirth. I could never think it a good 
character of a clergyman, to call him a merry fellow, 
or a notable droll; aad yet 1 do not condemn all cheer- 
fulness and freedom, nor the innocent exercise of wit: 
but it is one thing to make vcse of these now and then, 
when they come in our way — and another, to search 
and hunt after them; and those who have the knack of 
it, are ready enough to fall into excess. - ^ 

A third thing which will bring a clergyman into con- 
tempt, is, an unallowable patience in hearing his master 
dishonoured by the oaths and profane talk of those of 
whom he standeth in awe. My brethren, if we had no 
more but the common principles o{ ingenuity and hon- 
our, they might make us resent these as greater affronts 
than if men should spit in our faces: and yet this is but 
one of the meanest engagements that lie upon us, to 
check these exhorbitances with the greatest severity. 

I shall name but another, and it is this: when men. 
On design to avoid this contempt, would seem to 4i«- 
19* 



222 MiiritTERiAi. ruiccTioic. 

claim their employmeiit, by imitating the habit and de- 
portment of secular perwnB; when they study the gentle- 
roan so mach, that they foiget the clergyman. If we 
be ashamed of onr own employment, no wonder if oth- 
en despise it. Far different were the thooghts of that 
worthy gentleman, and excellent minister, whom I 
named before, that sweet singer of Israel, Mr. Herbert, 
who, the same night that he was admitted into the of- 
fice of the ministry, said to his friend, . ** I now look 
back on my aspiring thoughts, and I think myself more 
happy, than if I had obtained what I so ambitiously 
thirated for. A&d I can now behold the court with an im- 
fMutial eye, and see plainly, that it is made up of fraud, 
and titles, and battery, and many such other imaginary 
pamted pleasures. My greatest ambition irom hence- 
forth shall be, diat I lidng glory to my Jesus, whom I 
have this day taken to be my master and governor; and 
am so prond of his service, that I will always observe 
and obey, and do his will, and always call him Jesne 
jny master. I will always contemn my birth, and any 
title or dignity that can be conferred upon me, when I 
shall compare them with the title of being a Priest, and 
serving at the altar of Jesus my master." 
^ I am afraid I have encroached too far on your pa- 
tience. I shall close all with a serious obtestation of 
onr great apostle to Timothy; which you may believe 
I durst not utter in my own name, but in the name of 
the mat master of us all: I charge thee before God, and 
the Lord Jesus Christ, who ehall ju<%e the qnick and the 
dead at his appearing, and his kingdom: preach the 
word, be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, 
rebnke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. 
And the Lord of his mercy, so assist and prosper ns all 
In his own work, that we may be the happy instruments 
of advancing his kingdom, and the welfare of souls, 
through JesQs Christ our Lord. To whom, &c. 



SERMON 

PREACHED AT THE FUNERAL 
OF THE 

REV. HENRY SCOUGAL, A.M. 



BY GEORGE GAIRDEN, D.D. 



PHIL. I. 21. 
For me to Kfoe is Oiriaty and to die is gain. 
' It hath been the nsnal practice of ail oations in the 
world, of whatsoever religion, sect, or pecsnasion, to 
leare upon record to afler ages, the lives and memorable 
actions of those who have been eminent among them 
for great or good actions. . And however this practice 
may have been abnsed, sometimes to serve the interest 
of a sect 09 party, or other undue ends; yet that the 
memory of good men ought thus to be transmitted to 
posterity, may be deduced both from Scripture and com* 
mon reason; it being, fit thus to manifest the grace and 
goodness of God in men, and thereby to advance his 
glory and kingdom; and to make their light so shine 
before others, that they may be useful instructions to the 
world, and incentives to follow their examples. To this 
we owe the remembrance of all those good and great 
men recorded in the Old Testament: nay, on this is 
grounded the establishment and purity of bur most holy 
religion. We have left us the memorials of the life and 



S26 A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL 

ly their importance. For one to live to another, msiy 
be said in two respects: 1. When he is endued with the 
same spirit, and has the same temper ofHiind, and leads 
the same kind of life; and, 2. When his heart and his 
life is wholly devoted to his love and service^ when he 
loves him above all, and minds nothing more than his 
interest, and employs his life in serving his designs, and 
doing his will. And, in both these respects, (which, 
indeed, cannot be separated,) we may consider the 
Apostle's words. To me to live is Christy or, Christ is 
my life. 

I. First, As he was endued with the Spirit, and led 
the life of his blessed master: Be ye followers of me, 
saith he, even as I also am of Christ. And, indeed, 
this is the great design of Christianity, and the tniest 
.character of a Christian. All our duty and all our hap- 
piness consists in the being like unto God, and the living 
in that dependence upon, and subjection to him, that 
reasonable creatures owe their Almighty Creator. Now, 
seeing CJod dwelleth in that light which no man can 
approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see; 
therefore the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom 
of the Father, he hath declared him. He hath clothed 
himself with our flesh, and become man, and conversed 
amongst us, like one of ourselves, and shown us what 
the Father is, and how we must be like . him. Would 
we know how God would live amongst us, were he 
clothed with our nature and infirmities, if he dwelt in 
our flesh, and were visible to our eyes? Behold the 
Son of God, consider his life and Spirit, and this is the 
life of God; for he is the brightness of his Father's glory, 
and the express image of his person. Would we learn 
how far our nature is capable of beitig like unto God, 
how we must be partakers of the divine nature, and be 
renewed in the spirit of our minds, putting on the new 
man, which, after God is created in righteousness and 
true holiness? Consider Jesus Christ, subject to the 
infirmities of our nature, and living the life of God. 
Behold he hath given us an example, that we sboald 
follow his steps. He u the light of the world; and they 



or MR. HXITRT BCOUOAL. 227 

that follow him, shaH oo^ walk in darknei^. In him 
was life, and his life was the light of men, though dark- 
ness comprehended it not. Consider the profound hu- 
mility of his soul; the great meekness of his spirit; the 
entire resignation of his wiH to his heavenly Father; the 
unspotted purity of his desires and afTections, wholly mor- 
tified as to this lower world; the ardency of his love to 
God, and his zeal and delight to do his will; his won- 
derful patience under the greatest bufferings; his unin- 
terested, sincere, and ' boundless charity towards men, 
doing good even to those who hated and persecuted him, 
and dying for those who crucified him. In these, and 
in all other graces, he hath gone before us, and called , 
npon us to learn of him, and follow him. for this end 
did he live and die, to endue us with his Spirit, and 
change our nature into his. He humbled himself to our 
nature, that he might make us partake of his: he hath 
revealed unto us the nature of God, and his undeserved 
grace and goodness to us, and our unspeakable misery, 
and corruption, and estrangement from our heavenly 
Father; and hath put us again into a capacity of being 
his children, he himself becoming our elder brother. 
He hath raised us unto the hopes of the enjoyment of 
God for evermore in boundless felicity, that we might 
thus purify ourselves as God is pure. He hath breathed 
his Holy Spu-it into the world, to inspire us with hi.s life, 
and changed us Into his image; and he hath told us, that 
without this we shall never see the face of God. We 
have therefore all the obligations in the world to make 
Christ our life, and to follow Jesus. This is tlie only 
mark and character whereby God will own and acknowl- 
edge us for his. It is, besides, our greatest glory and 
honour, to imitate so blessed an example, and a won- 
derful expression of goodness and condescension, for the 
6on of Gojd to come down from heaven to give us this 
pattern. He is the most perfect example oi purity and 
holiness, in whom there was no spot nor blemish; who 
had no sin, neither was guile found in his month; but 
his life was uniform, and always pure, and constant to 
himself. And yet he hath given us the most plain 



228 A tSRMOir AT THE FUXfEBAX. 

and familiar copy, and the most exactly fitted to tlio 
state and condition of men in this world. He did not 
retire into cells and cloisters, as if none could walk as he 
walked bnt monks and recluses; but he conTersed fireely 
in the world, and lived in cities and villages, in compa- 
ny and converse with others. His piety did not break 
forth into severe fasting, and an excess of other bodily 
austerities, in ecstatic raptures, and enthusiastic fits, 
such as the lives of the famed saints of the Romish 
church are stufied Vith; but it was a plain life, of justice 
and charity, meekness and humility, patience and con- 
tentedness, and a readiness to do good to all men; a life 
that is imitable by all, from the greatest prince to the 
poorest peasant. The very importance of our name and 
profession, the calling ourselves Christians, obliges us to 
follow the example, and lead the life of Christ. And» 
if we mean not this by it, we mean nothing to the pur- 
pose: for he that saith he abideth in him, ought huxflelf 
also to walk, even as he walked. Nay, it is this only, 
the being endued with his Spirit, that can entitle us to 
an interest in him, and that happiness which he has pur- 
chased for us: for if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, 
he is none of his; so great and many are the obligatione 
that we have to follow Jesus. His tommands are nothing 
but the transcript of his own life and Spirit: we ougm 
always to have him in our eye; and in every disposition 
of our soul, in every undertaking and design; .to con- 
sider how our blessed master wodd have done in these 
circumstances, and aspire always to have the same mind 
that was in him; and never rest till Christ be formed in 
us. 

Bnt, alas! how unlike are we to the holy Jesus! 
Christians in name and profession, but not in deed.and in 
truth. How unworthy a chuncter would it make of 
him, to measure him by the lives and spirits of those 
who call themselves his followers. Alas! in what pas* 
sages or period of life can we say sincerly. To me to 
live is Christ? Do we propose to ourselves the same 
desijpns? Are we endued with any spark of his boundless 
chanty? Do our souls bum with love to God, or have 



0» Itfll. HEWRY 9COTIGAL. 229 

W6 such a sincere good will to oar neighl>oiin? Are 
our desires and affections cmeified to this world, and en- 
livened towards heaven? Yea, what conformity is there 
in our outward lives urito his nao^ holjr laws? Where 
is that forwardness to do good to all men, that meek 
sufiering of injuries, and ready forgiving of enemies, and 
doing them sood? Is scraping and scrambling after 
wealth, and this world's trtfles^; is rioting, and wallowing 
in sensual jpleasure^, and living like brutes; is cont&nd-> 
ing for places and glory among men; is strife dnd envy; 
contention and evil speaking, and other such-like works 
of the flesh — are these, I say, becoming the followers 
of Jesus Christ? Is this to live like him, or are they 
the fruits of his Spirit? Nay, sure, in this our hearts 
mus^ condemn us; and, alas! our lives do testify against 

• us. 

' But, mdeed, well might the Apostle say. To m© to 
live is Christy who was so much endued with his Spirit, 
and conformed to his life; whom nothing could separate 
from the love of God; who rejoiced as much in suflfering 
his will, as in doing it; who was so often in labour, and 
stripes, and prisons, in perils of all sorts, in watching, 
and hunger, and thirst, in fastings, and cold, and naked- 
ness; so far was he from enjoying the pleasures of the 
world: who knew so well both how to abound and be 
in want, and in whatsoever state, therewith to be con- 
tent; who was so much crucified to the w^rld, and the 
world unto him ; whose love and charity was so exuberant . 
and boundless towards his brethren, being re^dy to spend 
and to be spent for them, though thentiore he loved, the 
less he was toved again; who travelled through the world 

' tQ make men better, and spared no labour or pains to 
make them happy; spending his life in this employment, 
and enduring all kinds of hardships in it. So that, in a 
word, he lived; yet not so much he, as Christ that lived 
in him. 

II. But, secondlyr these words do import, that his 

heart and life were devoted to the service of Christ; that 

he loved him above all things, and minded nothing more 

than liis intecest, and employed his life in serving his de- 

20 



230 A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL 

signs, and doing his wHi, and lived bj^ his faith. The 
lii^ of man in this world, is to be considered both as to 
the inward and oatward man. The former, which is 
that of the soul, consists in the nnderstanding, the will, 
and the affections; the other, being the outward life and 
conversation, is regulated according to ihe inward dispo- 
sitions of the soul. And as a man's sentiments and dis- 
positions are, such is his life. Now, as jthe life of the 
body' is strangely disordered, when the blood and spirits 
do not run in their ordinary course, but make convulsive 
and involuntary motions, whifeh are nothing useful to 
the body, nor guided by the wilt; so the life of our souls 
is so corrupted, as that we may be said to be dead while 
we live, when our judgment is blind and false, our will 
. perverse and crooked, our affections earthly and carnal, 
N and we do not follow the will of God. And this is the 
state of our life by nature. What a strange blindness is 
there in the spirit of man? WIb understand almost noth- 
ing of the greatest things, and judge perversely of other 
things. , How little do we know of God, of our souls, 
of their misery, or wherein their true happiness consists, 
"pr of the state after this life? And how perversely do 
we judge of the trifles of this 4ife, as if our happiness 
and our all were summied up in them? How corrupt 
are the affectfons and dispositions of our hearts! We love 
what we ought to hate; we trust what will certainly fail 
us,' and distrust that which should be our only confidence; 
we fear that which can do us no harm, and are regard^ 
less of bur greatest dangers: we busy ourselves about tri* 
fles, or things that will certainly ruin us, and do not 
mind our greatest interests. Now Jesus Christ is come 
into the world full of grace and truth, to renew the spirit, 
of our minds, and to change the disposition of our hearts, 
and the course of our lives: and the life that we ought 
to lead, is by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us 
and gave himself for us. We must not live by sense, 
and our own foolish passions, and sentiments of things; 
but according to those sentiments and that faith that 
he by his word and Spirit inspires us with. , To serve 
Jesus Clirist, is to live by his faith; and to live by the 



OF MR. HENRY SCOUGAL. 231 

faith of the Son of God, u to judge aod eflteem of things 
as he has revealed theiu» and as he would have us, and 
accordingly to guide and direct our hearts and lives; to 
]ove what he bids^ns love, and hate what he would have 
JOB to hate; to hope and trust in his promises; to do what 
he commands, and forbear and avoid what he forbids; 
and to employ our life in doing his will, and serving his 
designs. He hath taught us to make a right judgment 
and estimate of things; lo have a deep sense of the un- 
speakable misery and sinfulness of our corrupt nature, 
of the infinite greatness, goodness, and mercy of God, 
and the wonderful contrivance and value of our redemp- 
tion. He has shown us the worth and the degeneracy 
of our souls, and what great things they are capable of 
by the pure grace and favour of God. He hath laid 
open the deceitful appearances of this present world, and 
the great moment of that eternity of joy or misery that 
awaits us hereafter. He hath made known to us what 
great things he hath done and suffered for us, and what 
boundless compassion and love he has for such undeserv- 
ing creatures. Now, the spring of that )ife we should live 
by the faith of Jesus Christ, is, to have oar understand- 
ings renewed and enlightened, and to judge shicerely 
and aright of these things, according as he, who is truth 
itself, hath revealed them unto us: and that not to gnitify , 
our cariosity in knowing them, or making them matter 
of vanity, and talk to others; for then we know notli- 
ing as we ought: bat to have such a deep sense and feel- 
ing of them, as to enliven our hearts, and guide our 
practices. For then do we truly live by the faith of 
Christ, when the sense of our own sinfalness and misery 
Binks us into the deepest humility, and sincere abhorrence 
- of ourselves; and tlie thoughts of the unspeakable good- 
ness, love, and mercy of God, and what our ever-bles- 
sed Redeemer hath done, suffered, and purchased for us, 
inspires our hearts with ardent love to them; and this 
becomes tlie spring of all Oiir actions; makes us delight 
to do his will, and be well pleased to suffer it; and study 
always to promote his interest in the world, to make 



232 A SERMON AT THS FUNERAL 

hiiu be knows and loved by all we can; and seek his 
glory and honour in all we dp, and not our own. 

Thus to us to live^Js Christ. Thus ought we to guide 
ojir understandings by his light, to inflame our hearts 
with his love, to spend our lives in his service, and di- 
rect our actions to his glory. Byt, alas! how generally 
are those who calUhemselves Christians, void of this life 
and spirit? Who is there that sincerely makes an esti- 
mate and judgment of things, according to the light of 
Jesus Christ? that thinks himself worthy to be truly hated ' 
by all? that really counts the honours and promotions, 
the wealth and pleasures of this world, as so many 
snares to his soul? that heartily values the favour and ap- 
probation of God, beyond the esteem and praise of men? 
And however some men may have some fruitless specu- 
lations in their understandings about such-like truths, 
yet, alas! how few sufier them to sink into their hearts, 
X and direct their lives? Where is the love of Jesus? the 
lively hones and ardent desires after the glory that is to 
be revealed? the true fear of God, or trust in him, or a 
sincere desire and delight to do his will? And whatever 
professions may be made of all these, yet where do the 
fruits of them appear in men's lives' and conversations? 
for the tree is known by its fruit. How few actions are 
there that seem to proceed from the hearty love of 
Christ? Wherein do we sincerely aim at the good of 
men, and the happiness of their seals? When do we 
singly propose to ourselves the glory of God» and the 
doing him service? What instances are there in onr 
conversation that seem to flow from an unfeigned hu- 
mility, and truly mean thoughts of ourselves? Alas! it 
would puzzle us, I fear', to instance the action or period 
ofour life that flowed purely from such principles. We 
are creatures of sense, and guided by other measures; 
the love of reputation among men; a coneem for the 
conveniences and pleasures of this life, and an aversion 
to the troubles of it; a desire of transcending others in 
power, wealth, and knowledge; a natural sioUi of spirit, 
and inconsideratiou of uiind; and, which is the root of 



X" # iitmmmmmmm 



3S 



OF MR. HENRY 8C0UGAI.. 233 

all, pride, and a blind and inordinate self-love. These 
are the springs that put all in motion; by these princi- 
pies we are gjiided in our designs, they mingle themselves 
with our best performances: and an impartial consider- 
ation may make us sensible, that there are few actions 
wherein some one or other of these have not always a 
great stroke and interest. 

But it is far otherwise with St. Panl; who, however, 
before his conversion, was actuated' by a blind zeal, 
yet, no sooner had that glorious light which dazzled the 
eyes of his body, enlightened those of his mind, but he ^ 
made appear, by his life and spirit, that he lived by the 
faith of the Son of God, and that to him to live was Christ. 
How did that light and life shine before men; and how 
manifest were they in him, who counted all things but 
dung and loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of 
Christ Jesus! who gloried in nothing so much as his 
cross, by which the world was crucified to him, and he 
unto the world? who reckoned the sufferings of this pres- 
ent time not worthy to be compared with the glory that 
is to be revealed? whom neither worldly advantage, nor 
the greatest crpsses and afflictions, neither the power 
or malice of devils and men could separate from the 
love of Christ? who gloried in nothing more than in suf- 
fering for him? whose zeal was so great, and his industry 
and diligence so vigorous, and his care and management 
80 prudent .and wise, in propagating his life and spirit, 
and spreading his doctrine? who made so sudden a change 
throughout tlie world, and so many nations his disciples? 
whose divine letters have so much tended to the esUib- 
lishment and propagation of the gospel in that and al) 
succeeding generations; a single passage of one of which, 
occasioned the conversion of one of the greatest fathers 
of the church: in which holy epistles the Christian doc- 
trine is so well represented; wherein persons of all ranks 
and conditions have their duties so clearly described; 
where bishops, and pastors, and people, rich and poor, 
husband and wife, psirents and children, masters and 
servants, the prosperous and the atiiicted, may Icaru their 
20* 



234 A SERMON AT THE FUFERAL 

Christian duty and deportment in their several cucam- 
stances. 

Bat I forbear to speak of that great Apostle of the 
Gentiles. The present occasion leads us hither; nor 
shall I presume to make a parallel. I knowl|iere is one 
glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of 
the stars: and one star differeth from another in glory. 
As the happiness of the other world, so the piety and 
goodness of this have their degrees and measures. I 
shall only consider, for our instruction, how, in its own 
measure, the life and spirit of our friend do breath forth 
the same sentiments, To me to Jive is Christ; how his 
life and example, his conversation and instructions, his 
thoughts and designs, the inward endowments and dis- 
positions of his soul, and the outward deportment and 
actions of his life, were, as to the main, the fruits and 
effects of a Christian spirit, of a holy and divine temper 
of mind; and how they all tended, and were employed, 
to increase the same in himself, and stir it up in others, 
and to revive something of the ancient Christian piety 
and goodness in the world. 

To me to live is Christ. Indeed well may it be said 
of his life, whose early . beginnings and first blossom^ 
were seasoned with pious inclinations, as well as the 
maturer periods of it. The right managing of infancy 
and childhood, is ordinarily the least of a parent's care; 
and any pious exercises are usually the least of children's 
thoughts. Every trifle tickles their fancies, and takes 
up their spirits: little passions and envies, and other iis^ 
sues of our natural corruption, begin to sprout forth 
even in that tender age. But in our deceased friend, as 
it was his father's pious design to devote him to the ser- 
vice of God and his church in this holy function, who 
did therefore take a suitable care even of his infancy and 
childhood; so his pious inclinations, and thfi suitable dis- 
positions of^his spirit, did happily conspire with it:*and 
he gave early indications of them even in those tender 
years. He was not taken up with the plays and little di- 
verelons of those of his age, (which cliildren so much 



OF MK. I^ENRY BCOUGAL. 235 

doatupon;) but. upon such occasions, did nsnally retire 
from them; and that, not out of sullenness of humour, 
- or dullness of spirit, (the sweetness and serenity of whose 
temper did even then appear,) but out of a staidneas 
of mind, going to some privacy, and employing his timn 
in reading, prayer, and such serious thoughts as that age 
was capable of. Sometimes he would be taken up with 
|he thoughts of the law of Moses, wondering how altars 
and sacrifices, and its other ceremonies, were not now 
among the exercises of our worship; at otlter times em- 
ploying himself in little imitations of the exerpises of the 
holy function, as preaching, and the like. And among 
other instances of the happy fruits of such retirements, 
this deserves to be remembered, that, being once in a 
serious reflection what course of life he should take 
that might be conducive to the salvation of his soul, and 
being in a deep muse of thoughts, he takes up the Bible 
to read a portion of it: and though he was always averse 
to the making a lottery of the Holy^Scriptures, yet he 
could not but take notice of the first words which, acci- 
dentally^ he cast his eyes> upon, and which made no 
small impression on hi& spirit; * By what means shall a 
young man learn to purify his way? by taking heed 
thereto, according to thy word.' The diversions he was 
then most taken with, did speak out the greatness of his 
mind and spirit; and he seemed to act all the grandeur of 
this world while a child: when, in learning the Latin he 
began to understand the Roman story, he retired usually 
with the most ingenious of his fellows, composed little 
orations, and acted the parts of the Roman senators. I 
cannot here omit that vastness of memory, ^nd forward- 
ness of judgment, which did even then appear; in that, 
when he began to taker notice of the daily reading of the 
Holy Scriptures at home, he could not only repeat seve- 
ral verses at that time, whether the historical or other 
parts; but afterwards, upon the turning to any one par- 
ticular chapter, could call them to remembrance; and 
wherea^i those of that age can, ibr the most part, ro- 
memher only some little incoherent passages of public 
seruions, he did usually take up their whole scope, and 



236 A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL 

give a brief account of them. And though children 
gener^ly love only the society of their feilows, or such 
as can entertain, them with sUly and foolish stories; yet 
such was the seriousness of his spirit, and the love he 
even then had for knowledge and jgood men, that when 
he had an opportunity, of hearing serious and reverend 
person!^ who used to resort to his father's house, he was 
careful to attend to them, and listen to their wise and- 
pious discourses. His improvements in<hnman literature 
were beyond the ordinary attainments of his age; having 
not only acquired a singular and unafi^cted elegance in 
the Latin tongue, but also a considerable proficiency in 
(jireek, in the Hebrew, and some other of the oriental 
languages; being versed, also, in history, and in geome- 
try, and other parts of the mathematics. And such was 
the clearness of his apprehension, and the forwardness 
of his judgment, that, upon the overhearing an occasion- 
al discourse of some who were passing their first years 
in the University, he did quickly take up the nature of 
a syllogism, the use of the symbols in contriving it, aud 
could readily form one upon any subject. 

Such were his attainments, and such was the t«iiper 
of his spirit in that early period of his life, which others 
for the most part spend in vanity and folly, and beginr to 
repent of, wnen they come to thinlc themselves men. 
And we may see how much a prudent father's wise and 
pious care, when it meets with a fit temper and disposir 
tion in a child, may contribute to plant the seeds of those 
virtuous endowments and good inclinations in that tender 
age, which will bring forth much fruit in their riper 
years; and with how.muph reason the wise man bids us. 
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he 
is old he will not depart from it. 

But the patlis of the just are as the shining light, which 
' sbineth more and more unto the perfect day. These 
were the early dawning of piety and goodness,- which 
appeared in him in those first years of his age, before he 
earne to this corner of our land; and there became still 
more manifest and conspicuous. ~ His improvements had 
now fitted him for the Uni> crsity: and here he gave fur- 



or MR. KENRT flCOUGAI.. 237 

tber proofs of a pious disposition and a xiapacious under- 
standing. He was far removed from those kvilijes and 
foolish customs, those little animosities and' strifes which 
the inconsiderato youth are iDmetimes guilty of; but was 
even then grave and staid in his deportment, as was ob- 
served by all, yet free and unaffected. The learning 
that was then in fashion, though he saw quite through 
it, yet it did not satisfy his understanding, nor could he 
perceive its use, save to wrangle pro and con about any 
tiling. He was desirous to dive into the nature of 
things, and not be involved into a strife of hard words, 
and a maze of nice distinctions: and, therefore, by Ins 
"own proper~indnstry, and private study, he became, even, 
then, master of that philosophy which has now got such 
footing in the world; besides a singular proficiency he 
made in the several. parts of raafhematics, in history, and 
other human learning. But he was always careful to 
beware of any philosophy or false knowledge that was 
apt to have a bad influence on the mind, and debauch 
the spirit, as to a right sense of God and religion; and 
never suffered himself to bQ tainted in the least With 
such. And there was nothing that more endeared any 
philosophical truths to him, than when they gave right 
apprehensions df God, and just thoughts of morality and^ 
virtue. His mind being always composed to a religious 
temper, he even then made it his business, by the fre- 
quent reading of the most pious and useful books, and 
a happy conversation, sanctified by a constant devotion, 
and an unprejudiced mind, to frame to himself, amidst the 
various opinions and distractions of Christendom, right 
apprehensions of religion, and accordingly jto suit his 
practice: so that, even then, religion, was the matfer of 
his serious and impartial choice, and not merely the 
prejudice of custom and education. He used sometimes 
to write essays of morality, and occasional meditations; 
which as they were singularly eloquent and ingenious^ 
so they breathed forth the devotion of his mind, and the 
seriousness of his spirit; and would very well become a 
riper age. It being the custom of the youth to have 
privato meetings about the ordering the concerns of their 



238 A SERMOir AT THE rVNERAI^ 

commencements, where he was made constant president 
among his fellows, his discourses to them were so grave 
and becoming, (as some of them have professed,) that 
they looked upon tliem aa the sayings of a gray head, 
and thought they savoured of the wisdom of a senator. 
Such was his deportment and improvement for the few 
years he resided in the University: so that, in the esteem 
of all, he did not a little honour that degree which is 
then given, of which some are said to be so much the 
reproach. And, therefore, he no sooner came out of 
the University, but he was thought worthy to be a 
master, where he had been so lately a scholar; and, after 
having given sufficient proofs of his fitness, by teaching 
for the next term the class of one who was occasional- 
ly absent, he was accordingly promoted: and even in 
this station, to him to live was Christ. He was careful 
so to behave himself in his own conversation, and in Uie 
exercises of that olhce, as to preserve his own con- 
science pure, and void of offence, and to serve the in- 
terests of Christianity ; trainuig up the youth in such 
principles o^ learning and goodness, as might make 
them most serviceable both to church and state. He 
was careful not to drive on little designs, or maintain 
factions and heats in the society, -but studied always to 
compose them; and when it would not do, they were 
his regret; but he was sure not to make one of them. 
>ie always preserved his authority entire amongst the 
unruly youth, and would quickly compose their disor- 
ders and tumults, and yet gain their love and esteem; 
and knew well how to entertain.them with freedom and 
kindness, and yet oblige them to that respect that be- 
comes a scholar towsirds his master. So far was he 
from designing his own private gain, that when a tuniolt 
had arisen among the unruly youth, in wliich there 
were some under his care who could easily have pur- 
chased their pardon by the payment of an inconsidera- 
ble mulct, and the assurance of their good behaviour 
afterwards: and when such was their perverseness that 
they would not do it, though his paying it in their name 
would have finished the business; yet, rather than do 



OP MR. HENRY SCOXTGAL. 239 

such a seemingly nnworthy act, which might prostitute 
authority, and encourage them to. like tumultuous prac^ 
tices, he suffered them to be expelled, to his own con- 
siderable detriment, as to his worldly inte)-ests, having 
but a few left behind. He was careful to instruct the 
youth in the most intelligible and useful priiiciples of 
human. knowledge, And it deserves to be remembered, 
that he was the first in this comer of the land (perhaps 
in the whole nation) who taught the youth that philos- 
ophy, which is now the universal preference by all the 
knowing world. He looked upon it as the most proper 
for framing their judgments, and disposing them to con- 
ceive things aright; for taking them off from a disputing 
humour, -and a vanity in hard words and distinctions, 
and in thinking they knew something, when they knew 
nothing. He thought it served to enlarge and raise their 
apprj^hensions of Almighty God, by considering the 
vastness of his works, and the admirable wisdom and 
goodness that appeared in tlie order of the world, and 
4he wonderful contrivance even of the most minute 
creature; that it disposed them to consider the nature 
and worth of their immortal souls, and of what* small 
moment all the sensual pleasures of this lower world 
were; and that it inclined them to a more universal love 
and good-will towards all, and to meaner thoughts of 
themselves and their knowledge. He was very careful 
to train them up in the best and most useful principles 
of morality, and to guard them against the debauched 
sentiments of Leviathan. And as he thus made human 
learning serviceable to the ends of piety and religion, 
BO he made it his great endeavour to have their minds 
inspired with this. On the Lord's day, in the evening, 
he usually had some pious discourses with them, laying 
open the folly and heinousness of vice and impiety, and 
the excellency and advantage of religion and goodness; 
and such other considerations as might both instruct their 
minds, and gain upon their tempers. And he failed not 
to ded with each of them apart in private. Those who 
were of bad inclinations, he studied to reform and 
amend; and in whom he saw any appearance of good- 



240 A SVRMON AT THE FUNERAL 

ness, he was careCiiI to encourage and cherish them. 
Thus he hath made appear, by his practice, that phi- 
lonophy and religion are not enemies to one anotner; 
but that the sober and discreet use of our reason makes 
us more capable of the truths and graces of our reli- 
gion, r 

But God had designed him for the mor^ immediate 
service t>f his church, unto which he had been devoted 
from the womb. And therefore, by the counsel of 
some serious and reverend persons in the church, whose 
advices were of great weight with him, he was called 
forth to preach the gospel, and a little while afVer en- / 
tered into holy orders, and was employed, as yon know 
in the office of the ministry, in the country'; where, 
though his stay was so short, yet the proofe that he 
gave both of his fitness for, and zeal in, that holy func- 
tion, were singular. He found he had now more obli- 
gations lying on him for piety and innocence of life: 
and, as the ambassador of his blessed master, he must 
be very tender of his honour, and of persuading those 
he was sent unto, to be reconciled. to God: and therefore 
he was careful to shun even all Appearances of evil. He 
studied, during his short stay, by catechising, to instruct 
his people, with the greatest plainness and affection, in 
the right sense and knowledge of religion and their duty^ 
and to show them the folly and unreasonableness of 
those shifls and pretences whereby they encouraged 
themselves in a bad life. He endeavoured to understand 
their tempers, and accordingly to apply himself to them. 
He was deeply sensible of the little sense of> religion 
that generally appeared: and when he saw any spark 
of goodness, how strangely was he cheered with it! 
He more valued the humble innocence, and cheerful 
contentment and resignation of one poor woman in that 
place, than ali the more goodly appearances of others, 
having oil in his mouth, Indocti c<Blum r<spiunt; 
He endeavoured to bring them to a devout and constant 
attendance on the public worship; where he always 
went, and joined with them at the beginning of it; think- 
ing it very unfit, that the invocation of Almighty God> 



OF MR. HENRT SCOOOAL. - 241 

the reading of some portions of the Holy Scripturesy 
making a coofe^iou of oar Christian faith, and rehears* 
ing the ten conimandiiientd, should be looked upon 
only as a preludiain for ushering in the people to the 
shurch, and the minister to the pulpit. His sermons 
were always devout and seriousi and seasonable; and 
he endeavoured to fit them to the capacities- of the peo- 
ple: and he revived the use of the lectures, looking on 
it as the most edifying way, to have (as a great light of 
tills nation used to say) long texts and short sermons. 
But I must not so slightly pass over his preaching, 

*in which we are all so much concerned. A wise man 
liath lately written an essay, how to make a good use 
of bad sermons: and it were to be wished we were in- 
structed in making good ones, such I mean, as might 
Iiave an influence on men's hearts and lives. And sore 
I chink all that heard him will acknowledge his practice 
to be no contemptible pattern. He thought.it should be 
a minister's care to choose seasonable and useful ftub- 
jects, such as might instruct the people's minds, and 
better their lives; not to entertain them with debates, 
and strifes of wOrds; that he should express himself in 
the most plain and afl^ectionate manner; not in airy and 
fanciful words, nor in words too big with sense, and 
having a great many thoughts crowded together, which 

' the people's understanding cannot reach; nor in philo- 
sophical terms and expressions, which are not familiar 
to vulgar understanding; nor in making use of an unusual 
word, where there could be found one more plain and 
ordinary to express the thought as fully. He looked 

. upon it as a most useful help for composing sermons, to 
make the Sunday's sermon the subject of our meditation 
and mental prayer for the forcing week, that it may 
thereby sink deep into our spirits, and affect our own 
hearts, which would make us more capable of teaching 
others. He thought it a fit expedient for composing us 
to a serious and affectionate preaching, to propose to 
ourselves, m the meditation of it, purely the glory of 
God, and the good .of men's souls, and to have this al- 
ways in pur eye; and, in our preaching, to ma]j;e frequent 
21 



242 A BVRlffOir'AT THE FUNERAL 

oollectaons of the divine presence, and short ejacolationa 
towards heaven; thereby to prescrre us in tliat humble 
temper, that seriousness and gravity, that becomes na in 
the presence of God, and as the ambiissadors of Christ. 
And how conformable was his practice to these rales! 
The matter of his disconises was always so useful and 
seasonable; his words and expressions so plain, and pro- 
per, and well chosen; his deportment so grave and un- 
.aifected, becoming the sense of whose ambassador ho 
was; his manner of utterance so affectionate, and expres- 
sive of thie passionate love and concern, he had for wen's 
souls, accomfMinied with such an act of sweetness and 
mildness, as charmed men's spirits^ And all was so full 
of light and heat, that I think I may say, in the words 
of the disciples concerning our blessed Saviour: Did not 
our hearts bum within us, while he opened untaus the 
Scriptures? How did the Holy Spirit, by him, enlighten 
our minds, and affect our hearts? There are some kinds 
of words and expressions some tones and ways of ut- 
terance, which will raise the passions and affections of 
predisposed temperi, without at all enlightening their 
minds,— «ven as music does. And there are others 
capable of laying open the nature and reason of things, 
but in so dry a manner, that they float merely upon our 
.understanding as matter of speculation and talk,, and do 
not sink into oar hearts. And though there be much 
noise, now-a-days, about the methods of -preaching, and 
the preferences of one to another; yet it is in this, I am 
afraid, that we lose ourselves on both sides. But in 
this, sure, I may appeal to all that hoard him, whether 
his discourses, and his manner of uttering them, did not 
serve at once both to enlighten their minds, and warm 
their hearts? And so tender was he of tba honour and 
reputation due to the preaching of the goispel, that as he 
was careful, on the one hand, to express himself in the 
roost plain, intelligible, and affeetionate words; so, also, 
on the other, to avoid all cbildisih metaphors, apish ges- 
tures, jest, and big words, and other such indecencies 
as did not become ihe gravity of the function, and were 
apt to occasion the smile:* and laughter of the profane, 



OP MR. HElfRY SCOITOAI.. 248 

rather than the ptety of the serioaa. And I dare say, the 
most profane Rcoflbrs of the nation were never tempt- 
ed to turn his expressions or 'gestures into ridicule. 
Nay, many of avpwedly profligate lives, have been ex- 
tremely aflfected by his sermons, which pricked them to 
their hearts, he laid them so open to themselves, and 
made them so sensible of their brutishness and danger, as 
they themselves have acknowledged. 

i cannot here omit the deep sense he had of true elo- 
quence, and his high value for it; professing he would 
exchange for it all the other human learning he was 
ma<9ter of. He was sensible of the little knowledge he 
hid in the ars voluntatis'; how little we understood 
of the nature of men's passions and inclinations, and 
what things were most capable of bending their wills, 
and prevailing upon their minds, according to their 
diflereut tempers. And accordingly ho judged there 
were two essential defects in onr best kind of eloquence. 
The one was, that in the meditating our discourses, we 
rather merely considered the Iwnes of our reason, and .the 
nature of the things we were thinking of, and did not so 
■much reflect upon the temper of the persons ^we were to 
speak to, and what kind of reasoning, words and expres- 
sions, would make the best impression upon their minds; 
add therefore it was nothing strange, that words let fly 
«t random touched them. so little. The other, that our 
hearts were not thoroughly endued with those disposi- 
tions we would work on others by our words; and there- 
fore it was DO wonder all we said made so little impres- 
non on them. 

But I come now to the last stage and period of his 
life, wherein it most eminently appeared that to him to 
live was Christ. God had designed him for a more uni- 
versal use and service in his church; and therefore, by 
the wu>e providence of the Almighty, he is removed from 
a private charge in the country, to a more general one, 
of training up the youth for the holy' ministry, and the 
care of men's souls. Promotions of this nature,fe8pe- 
cially when they are made by the votes of many, are 
usdally attended with little factions, combinations, and 



944 A BSBMOir AT THE rUNBHAL 

heats; bat, ag the purchase was none of his design, ao, 
the general sense of his worth and goodness gave him 
the unanimous voice of the clersj of this diocese, (who 
promote to that station,) and the universal approbation 
of all that Icnew him: and the apprehension he had of 
the weight and importance of that office, and his mean 
thought of himself, made him deliberate about it till 
their next meeting. Indeed, both his natural, acquired, 
and moral endowments, made him be judged by all, 
worthy of this charge. His memory was singular; and 
though he loved more to study things than words, yet, 
for instance, in a few days time, he learned to under- 
stand one of our Western languages, and could read H, , 
in English, with more readiness than those who had lived 
many years where it is spoken. As to things of impor- 
tance, he could soon give them a lasting impression on 
his mind; though, at length, he gave over the commit- 
ting public discourses to his memory, professing, wlien 
he went about it, he was ashamed to see himself at such 
a childish exercise. His understanding was ready, clear, 
and piercing; and he would quickly see through things 
in civil affairs, as well as in matters of learning. He 
did not so much read books, as think them: and, by a 
transient view, would quickly comprehend the design 
' and marrow of them. He had not spent his whole 
time in reading, being sensible that it often served to 
dull, confuse, and prejudicate men's understandings, 
and make them of imperious and dictating tempers: and 
therefore he made a prudent mixture, of a moderate 
reading, a choice of useful books, and consultioff the liv- 
ing, as well as the dead, having a singular art of benefit- 
ing both himself and others, by conversation and dis- 
course; and he digested and improved all, by retired 
meditations and fervent devotion: so tha^ his leammg 
seemed rather the issues of his mind, and the inspira- 
tion of the Almighty, which teacheth knowledge. He 
employed two summers in going to a neighbouring na- 
tion, in which he made it his business to converse with 
those who were of greatest reputation for learning and 
goodness; whore, as he gained their singular esteem and 



Sf mbJ henry scougal. 245 

l^ood thonghts, so by nscftil conversation, and a scriona 
obnervation of tetnpe» an'd things, he improved his 
tnind in knowledge. Bfct, indeed, we may look npon 
his 'excellent endowments as the reward oCthe pious 
dispositions of his soul, and of the good designs he pro- 
posed to himself in all his studies and endeavours. And 
God knows, iil the undertaking this office, there was 
nothing he had more before bis eyes, than the service of 
Jesns Christ, and the good of his church. He was 
deeply sensible of the great weight and importance of 
the holy ministry, and did much bewail the general fail- 
ing in the exercise of it; how every man minded his own 
things, and not the things of Jesus Christ And there- 
fore he made this the one great design of all his endeav- 
dars in that charge, the fitting and training up the youth 
for that holy function ; and this was the gi-eut aim both 
of liis public and private care of them. 

He considered that they ought chiefiy to mind and fit 
themselves now, for that which would be their great 
bnsiness when they were entered into the holy function; 
and that this would not l>e so much the managing of con- 
troversies and debates of religion, as the^id'mg men's 
souls to eternity; the rjescuing the vicious from their sins 
and vices, and prevailing hpon them,i)y all prudent 
methods; and directing the serious to tffe true practice 
afid exercise of religion, and the most proper means for 
the practice of goodness, and the avoiding and resisting 
of temptations, and how they ought to behave theni- 
fjelves in all circumstances of life. He thought it suffi- 
cient that they understood the" state and importance of 
those controversies and differences which were the 
grounds of the divisions of Christendom, for their own 
instmction, and those who stood in need of it, under 
their care; bnt the other he looked npon as their main 
business. And therefore, accordingly, after he had 
guarded them against the common artifices of the Ro- 
man niissionaries, in their making proselytes, and clear- 
ed the most important difTicultifes in the gospels, he 
proposed. two designs as the subject of all his public exer- 
cises: the one, dc cura pastorali, proposing to consid- 
21*^ 



246 A SCRJCON AT THE FUNERAL 

er the institation and dignity » the weight- and difficalty, 
the noceissity and usefulaeiM, of the holy function of the 
ministry; the natnre of that call we ought to have to it, 
the necessary dispositions that are required to fit ns lor 
it, the manner of our own private life and conversation 
in it, and how we onjght to discharge the several exer- 
cises of it, both public and private. The other, the in- 
structing them m, casuistical divinity; the considering 
hoW a man of a strait conscience ought to behave blm- 
aelf, in whatever state or condition of life he be, and 
whatever cases and circumstances he fall into; and the 
branching out this into particulars, and vindicating it 
from the corruption of the Jesuits, and others. So 
great and good were the designs be proposed unto him- 
self. As to matters of controversy, he studied rather to 
lessen than multiply; and saw that men were apter to 
be reasoned out of their erroneous persuasions by a good 
life, than many arguments. He thought it enough to 
make the youth understand the true state of matters in 
debate, and to consider the most weighty differences: but 
he was careful to take them off, as much as possible, 
from the disputing humour, and an itch of wrangling, 
pro and con about any thing; and many times, by si- 
lence, answering their . impertinent quibbles. There 
were no debates he was more cautious to meddle with 
than those about the decrees of God; being sensible 
how much Christianity had suffered by men's diving 
into things beyond their reach; secret things belonging 
to the Lord, and things revealed to us and our chilchen. 
But he had always a deep sense of the powerful efficacy 
of God's grace upon our souls; and that all our good 
was entirely to be ascribed to God, and all our evil to 
ourselves. He used, once a year, (when the youth 
were most frequent,) by a very serious and affectionate 
disconrw in English, to lay before them the weight and 
importance of the mmistry; how they should demean 
themselves now, while they were candidates fo» that 
holy function; how.carefully they ought to avoid all such 
evil conversation as might give their minds a bad tinc- 
ture; what course of study they ought to take; inviting 



OP MR. RSHIIT^COVOAL. 247 

them to a private resort onto him, and expreasing a 
most affectionate concern for them. 

It wajs also his great care, to make his private con- 
▼ersation with them as nsefhl as his public. And by 
this, indeed, he hoped to do most good. They had al- ■ 
ways Iree access to him; and his counsels and advice 
were still saited to the dispositions he perceived in them. 
He eould so modestly and pmdently tetl them theur 
failings, as to make them perceive and amend them 
without being offended. He was careful to lend, and 
direct them to the use of, good books, and, indeed, one 
of the great ends of his buying so many, was to serve 
them. Those who were of the most eminent endow- 
ments, and best inclinations, he stirred up to serious 
thoughts of the holy ministry. He gave them the most 
undoubted proofs of his love and care of them\ opened 
his heart freely to them^ and learned their inclinations 
and studies. He directed them to the best means of 
bettering their hearts, as well as mforming their judg- 
ments; prayer, meditation, and frequent retirements: and 
made them sensible, that self-will was the root of all our 
sins; and an entire resignation to the will of God, the 
very spring of all our duty ; and directed them to frequent 
and constant acts of self-denial and resignation. And 
as he was thus careful to his charge, so also of main- 
taining^that entire correspondence with, and due defer- 
ence and respect that he owed towards his reverend col- 
league: and that entire and constant love and harmony 
between them, and that mutual deserved esteem they 
had for one another, was very singular and very exem- 
plary. 

Thus, to him to live was Christ. Thus faithfully and 
prudently did our dear friend manage his charge in serv- 
ing the interest of his blessed master. And we rhight 
have hoped confidently, ere long, th^t by their joint en- 
deavors, through the blessing of the Almighty, we shouM 
have seen another face on our church. But, amidst all 
his pioas designs and cares, he is called by his great 
master, in an liour that we thought not of, from his 
stewardship here, to on higher employ lucnt in the other 



248 . A BEBMON At THS FVKCRAL 

world. Who is that faithful and wise steward, whom 
his Lord makes ruler over his household, to give them 
their portion of fi)eatin due season? Blessed is that ser- 
vant whom his Lord, when lie cometh, shall find so 
doing; of a truth he will ^ke hiiij ruler over all th^ 
he hath. 

Indeed, the end of hia life was no less Christ's^ than 
the beginning and whole course of it. The tinie of his 
sickness was ad chelerfuUy spent in suffering the will of 
God, as the former was in doing it. He manifested ^e 
greatest meekness and cheerfulness of spirit throughout 
the whole course of it. He used not the least hurSh 
expression, either to any of those that yvaitcd upon him, 
or concerning the present providence. He expressed 
a perfect indifferenoy as to life and death, and an entire 
resignation to the will of God, to dispose of him as he 
thought meet. He found himself liever more sensible 
of the vanity of this world, nor ever felt more ardent 
acts of love to God, than at that time. He was rapj 
in admiration of God*8 goodness to him, and the little 
returns he said he had made to it; and acknowledged his 
own great unworthiness, and his humble confidence in 
the mercy and goodness of God, through the merits 
of his blessed Saviour, And thus meekly did he pass 
his sickness, and resign his spirit, without any trouble 
from the world, or great pain of body, or any anguish 
of mind: for, mark the perfect man, and behold the up- 
right; for the end of that man is peace. 

And now, afler all, I cannot here omit what service 
he hath done the world, by permitting it to enjoy those 
excellent thoughts of his about the life of God in the 
soul of man. Men may write big volumes, and, as oiie 
says, talk much and say nothing; but it is a great matter 
to talk little, and yet say much. And, sure, whoever 
considers the importance of the matter of that book, the 
clear representation of the life and spirit of true reli- 
gion and its graces, with the great excellency and ad- 
vantages of it, the proposal of the most efTectimr means 
for attaining to it by the grace of God, the piety and 
scasouablcneds of the devotions, together with the nat- 



or MR. HENRY SCOUGAX*. 249 

ural and afTectionate eloquence of the style, — cannot but 
be sensible of its great nsefubiess to inspire ns with the 
spirit of true religion, to enlighten oar minds with a 
n^ht sense and knowledge of it, to warm our hearts 
With suitable afTections and breathings after it, and to 
direct our liyes to the practice of it. And, indeed, it 
seems to have been, in a great measure, the transcript 
of his own life and Gqpirit. Those divine graces and 
virtues which he so clearly describes, shin^ forth in 
his own life and conversation; and he not only under- 
stood, but felt them. That faith, and love, and charity, 
that purity and humility, which he so passionately 
recommends and speaks of, did eminently appear 
throughout the whole course of his life. 

What a deep sense had he of the truths of our reli- 
^on! He suffered them not to float on his understand- 
mg, to be matter of talk and dispute with others: but 
he let them sink deep into his spirit, to renew his soul, 
and direct his life, and was careful to make use of all 
means that might give him a deeper sense of them. 
What a deep sense had he of the goodness of God; the 
wonderful mercy of our redemption by Jesus ChriM; 
the corruption, the degeneracy, and sinfulness of Our 
nature, the excellency of goodness, and the happiness 
of heaven? - And his deep sense of all this, was the 
spring and root of all his other graces. 

In how manifold instances did appear the ardency of 
h% love to God? He was still breathing with more ar- 
dent desires after him, and was sorry he^ could love him 
no more. He was frequently admiring his wisdom and 
goodness in the government of the world, and the wise 
disposal of things. It was not the mean principles of 
custom, reputation or vain-glory, or a servile fear, that 
made , him carefully avoid all evil in his practices, but 
the ardency of his love to his heavenly Father; and 
therefore his life was so uniform and constant to itself, 
and carefully employed m doing all the good he could, 
and any thing whereby God might be glorified: and he 
was still sensible how little he could do worthy 6f his 
love. His own inclinations were correspondent to the 



260 A SERMOir AT THE FUNERAL 

reisolQtions of hia pians father, from his childhood; and 
he had devoted himself for the service of Jesus Christ in 
the ministry. Those in whom be observed virtuous en- 
dowments, and the most pious indinations, he encour- 
aged, by all means, to the service of God in the holy 
function. He endeavoured, always, after an absolute 
resignation Of his will to him, looking upon this as the 
yery life of all graces. He was very obscrvbg of the 
various passages of his providence towards hini» and 
very sensible of his goodness in crossing some designs 
which he afterwards saw would have been inconve- 
nient for him. He was carefhl to observe all the steps 
of Providence; and, when they seemed not to approve 
of his intentions, how eager soever his desires had been, 
he was sure not to go one step farther. He was ardent 
and constant in his devotion towards God. His piety 
and zeal was very eminent in the public worship, when 
he was the mouth of the people; his devotion was so 
raised, and the humble fervour and seriousness of his 
spirit so visible, as did highly inflame the devotion of 
the serious: and, when he made one of them, the liu- 
mility and adoration of his soul did appear In his out- 
ward behaviour; and he thought it one suitable expres- 
sion of it, to bow the knee before that Majesty before 
whom the angels tremble. In the celebration and re- 
ceiving of the Holy Communion, his soul seemed to 
be wholly swallowed up in the contemplation of Jesns 
Christ; and his <ievotions were the admiration of all tbut 
saw him. He had been constant in his private prayers 
to God from his childhood; and that great secret of de- 
votion which he recommends in his book, was his fre- 
quent practice: and he sent up, sometimes, such aspira- 
tions of love, with such ardent sighs and groanings, 
and heavings of his spirit, as, perhaps, unclogged his 
spirit, and made his soul take its flight so soon from 
this earthly tabernacle. 

' And, sure, a soul so much inflamed with the love of 
God, could not be wanting in a suitable charity towards 
men: and, indeed, to this his very natural temper seem- 
ed to incline him. There was nothing of harshness in 



OF MR. HENRY SCOUGAL. « 251 

the <Iij<»po8ition of hi; spirit; but it was full pf sweetness 
and love, which appeared in his very air and counte- 
nance, and was apt to attract menu's hearts at the first 
sight; and this happy disposition was hallowed and rais- 
ed, by the love of tiod, into a holy charity. His soul was 
as wide as the world, and his love and good will were 
universal, and every man the objects of them.* His 
prayers and good wishes were extended to all men ; and 
all the iiarm he could do his enemies, (if there were 
any such universal haters of mankind as to do him bad of- 
fices,) was, to pray for them the more earnestly to God. 
}Ie did not confine his charity within a sect or party, 
but loved goodness wherever be found it; and entertahi- 
ed no harsh thoughts of men, merely upon their difler- 
ing from him in this or that opinion. He was grieved 
at the distractions and divisions of the church; and that 
religion, the bond of love, should be made so much the 
bone of contention. 

What prudent methods would his sincere love and 
charity to others prompt hint to, to undeceive them in 
their errors? How meekly would he discourse with them 
about their differences? calmly showing the small im- 
portance of some things, not worth the contending for, 
and making appear the bad influence that other things 
had, as to holiness and a good life; and yielding in 
others, again, that were not contrary to the designs of 
religion; making them sensible of the sincerity of his 
soul, and his hearty good-will to them. He was far 
from maintaining a diflTerence upon the account of stout- 
ness of humour, or keeping up the reputation of a sect 
or party, being desirous we should all be united in the 
general religion of Jesus Christ, and studying to ntake 
friends, and unite the hearts of those who had been divid- 
ed by names and parties: and thus, if at fn-st he did not 
prevail over men*8 prejudices, yet he failed not, to gain 
their hearts; and so, by degrees, made way for.his sea- 
sonable discourses. And O what holy charms and pious 
arts had he to catch men's souls, and to make them pur- 
sue thehr own happiness! A charity wliich he thought 
far superior to any that could be done for the body. 



26^ A SERMON AT T^C PUNXRAL 

(though he was emioent in that kind also,) and of 
which he would speak with the greatest concern and 
emotion of spirit. How many arts had he to better 
them, and make them good and happy? His love made 
him always as intent upon this, as the love of money will 
make the covetous man bend all his thoughts and designs 
to add* to his treasure. How wouid he take advantage, 
from every thing, to make all things work together for 
their good? He s6emed to be the visible spring that put 
all good desigi^B in motion, for bettering the state of our 
church. He Was the genius that put life and spirit into 
the serious studies and pious endeavours of those he 
conversed With. How careful was he to propagate, 
every where, right apprehensions of religion?, and what 
a visible influence had he among us in this matter? 
What wise methods had he to make his frie^ids sensible 
of their infirmities and failings, by speaking to them of 
his own? and to stir them up to zeal /and diligence in 
piety in good works, and to the use of the most efl^t- 
ual ilieans of purifying their souls, by telling them in- 
stances of the piety and lives of others -of his acquaint- 
ances? He was careful even to make his ordinary con- 
. versation useful for this end, both in giving the example 
of an unaffected modesty and^ieekness, and dropping in 
always something that might make them more in love 
with religion and goodness. The effects of his love and 
care of mcn'js souls extended even' to those who knew 
him not; and he obliged always bis friends and ac- 
quaintances, as there was occasion, to employ the inter- 
est of their friend^ip and familiarity with others, ia 
persuading them to piety and a good life; and alluring 
them to the reading of good books, and such other 
means as might'serve both to enlighten and purify them: 
and when he heard of the good fruits of such designs, 
how much would he be cheered with it? His love and 
veneration for good men was singular and extraordinary ; 
notUng he more delighted in, than their pious conversa- 
tion: and be could so well represent their piety and good 
life to others, as to make them enamoured with it too. 
His love and charity were eminent, also, in the 



OP MR. HSNRT SCOUGAL. 269 

Vounty of his alms, and the relief of the oatwaid neces- 
sities of others. The fii:st inon^y he gained bemg At the 
University, he was careful, to 'lay by a portion of it for' 
the poor, before he made any use of -it for himself; de- 
voting, as it were, the first fruits unto God. And this 
course he obser^-ed throughout the rest of his life, laying 
aside, always, a portion of his income for the relief of 
the necessitous. This has been the practice of many 
charitable persons, as the best m^od to secure a stock 
for charity; to make them give it with a liberal and wil* 
ling mind, and seek out fit objects for it. Were this 
practice more frequently observed, it would undoubted- 
ly make Christians more bountiful, and their charity and 
alms more profitable to themselves and other?: and a 
f tenth thus cheerfully bestowed, accompanied with the 

other exercises of a pious life, would, undoubtedly, bring 
in its- hundred-fold of blessings in this world, and in the 
world to come life everlasting: and, as he was careful 
thus to provide for charity and alms, so, also, to dispose 
of it aright. He did not his alms to be seen of men: 
many were jrelieved by his bounty, who knew nothing 
of it. He chose out. some fit persons, both in the city 
and the country, who were acquainted with the necessi- 
£.* ties and straits of poor, modest, honest house-keep- 
ers, to whom he frequently gave money to relieve their 
% wants. And these were sometimes honest persons of 

.; dififerent persuasions, who were relieved in their straits 

li. they knew not by whom. A noble example of Christian 

f. charity I Blessed be God, there are yet some sparks of 

la it in the world. God grant such pious examples may 

Iff encourage and stir up more to a Christian imitation of 

a - them. Nor was his charity so exemplary only in thd 
ir: liberal dispensing of portions of his yearly incomes, but, 

a, also, in such a prudent dispositwn of what the wisdom 

ri of Providence, and his pidus father's care had provided 

ri; for him in his last will and testament, as might most 

^ t^nd to the public good and advantage ^ as will in due 
oj I time appear. 

But, among the other expressions of his love, his 
friendship, sure, deserves a grateful remembrance. — 



he 



254 . A SBEMOV AT THK rVNCRAL 

Friendship, the flower of society, the ease of oiir|[prie&, 
the heightener and refiner of our joys, our guide and 
coimiellor, and the Hfe of angels! Many have made 
fine pictures of it; bat the want of true friendship has 
been generally the observation and complaint of all 
men. But O! how eminent an example was he^ of sin- 
cere and hearty friendship? This was the darling of his 
sOnl, and the delight of his spirit. He did not act it to 
serve little designs, and'.private interests; bat he was full 
of cordial love and aJTection, even like the love of 
Jonathan. How freely wonld he open his heart, and 
unbosom his thoughts, and give -faithful counsel to bis 
friend! How dear were his interests to him, and how 
wisely would he manage, them! If there was any 
worldly thinf that was apt to create grief and trouble to 
him, it was me disasters, or bad suecess that befell them: 
and their happy events, wonld so refi-esh and cheer 
bis spirits, that, as has been taken notice of, it bad even 
influence on his sickly body, and would give it some 
greater measure of health. How readify would he 
forego his own interests to oblige his friend; and deny 
himself, as is well known to some, even in those designs 
and inclinations for which, usually, we have a great con- 
cern, when we are once engaged in them? So far was 
he from desiring to engross the love and kindness of his 
friends, that he made it his business and delight to pro- 
pagate true friendship, and make them friends to one 
another: and in this he studied to render it the most use- 
ful thing in the world, and to make it serve the great 
ends of piety and religion. Those in whom he obser- 
ved the spirit of true piety and goodness, or any appear- 
ance and likelihood of the one having influence on, and 
bettering the other's life and practice, he endeavoured to 
bring them into acquaintance and familiarity; to endear 
them to each other, and make their fripjidship useful for 
promoting true piety and goodness, both in themselves 
and others: and this, perhaps, is the most eflectual means 
for recovering something of the ancient Christian spirit 
hi the world. Many methods have been set on foot, un- 
der pretence of effectuating this design, id the Greek 



or MR. HBNAY ViCOUCAL. 251^ 

and -Roman cbarches, men hare formed new aocieties, 
instituted new orders, engaged them to pecuJiar vows, 
and given them particular religions, as they call them, 
fiubqrdinate to the general religion of Jesus Christ. And 
among those whom the gross corruptions and tyranny 
of the Roman Church, both in faith and worship, have 
thrust from their communion, many have gronndlessly 
separated from one another, wd formed distinct sects and 
parUes. But how little either of these have contributed 
to the promoting of true piety and goodness, experience 
may make the world sensible. The designs of the for- 
mer have ended in raising the splendour and revenues 
each of their peculiar order, in magnifying its rules in 
opposition to others, in observing their particular insti- 
tutions, which become matter of mere formality and 
> custom; having a show of humility and will-^jvonfaip, 
bat do not tend to thc) purifying of the conscience: and 
the rest of the people are apt to think they have not such 
obligations to piety and a good life, as if the care of 
that were only incumbent on those who had peculiarly 
. assumed to themselves the title of religious. And the 
V zeal and endeavours of the latter are usually spent in 
^ keeping up the reputation of their sect and party, in those 
r tilings especially wherein they differ from others; and 
this ordinarily makes the studies and designs on all sides 
to run into this channel. But perhaps, if, instead of such 
groundless divisions and schisms, and pretence of better- 
i, ing the state of religion, more care were had to enter- 
,yr tain and propagate a holy ahd sincere friendship, we 
f: might see more blessed fruits of it; whilst, by the friend- 
,,. iy communications of the serious, their sentiments about 
jjj religion would be mutually cleared, their ^inds united. 
In and they instructed in the best means of purifying their 
IT hearts, inflamed with one another's zeal, and stirred up 
K to spread the same temper among others, as far as their 
^ influences could reach. Such an holy combination (not 
^ to observe the vows of any particular order, or to divide 
iril from the rest of tlie worM, but) to follow Jesus; to live 
in- according to his holy religion, and to persuade others who 
ek profess it to a sincere conformity thereunto; O! how de- 



256 A SKBMON AT THE FUNERAL 

siiaUe were it 1 It was thus, methinks, tharthe Son of 
God did at first spread his religion in the world: k was 
thus that the aeeal and piety of his first followers did con- 
tinue it; and it is thus that we must expect to see the life 
and spirit of it to breathe once again amongst us. 

And now I need not speak much of the purity and 
cleanness of his heart, and his great uncoucemedness 
for this present world, it having been the generaJ ob- 
servation of all that knew him. He looked, indeed, 
always as a stranser and pilgrim in it; and was dead to 
it in heart and spirit long before his body had taken 
leave of it Good God! what a deep sense had he of 
the meanness and va^iity of this world's hurry and, de- 
signs, which he used to say looked to him like the 
projects and scuffle of children and fools? In his very 
youth his heart was clear of any inclination to it; and 
he would even then say to his intimates, that, abstract- 
ing from the will of God, mere curiosity would, make 
him long for another world, it being a tedious thing to 
see still the same dull play acted over again here. 
What little regard had he to the getting or keeping of 
what the world calls wealth and riches? Never was he 
seen to have any project that tended that way. He 
oould scarce expend any thoughts about his yearly in- 
comes, but remitted still the care of that to others, 
without calling them to an account. How excellently 
had he learned bis master's lesson. To take no thought 
what he should eat, what he should drink, or where- 
withal he should be clothed! Never any thing he was 
more unconcerned in than this. Whatever was set be- 
fore him, for the sustentation of his body, he did eat of 
it, asking no questions for appetite's sake. . His thoughts 
and his spirit were never taken up with those actions 
of the animal life, even when he was about them; and, 
while he supported nature, he scarce suffered his t^te 
to have any complacency in them. JHe thought it 
strange to see those who pretended to a Christian tem- 
perance, exercise such voluptuous pleasure in their 
meats, making them the subject of their fable-talk, and, 
as if they owned their bellies for their gods, and pro 



OJT MR. HCNBY SCOUGAL. • 257 

fessing they loved such and sach dishes with all their . 
souls. Alas! that the weakness and infirmity of homan 
nature, by which we are levelled with the beasts^ 
should become the matter of our vanity and voluptuous- 
ness, instead of that humble and abasing sense we 
ought to have of ourselves. 

The innocence and purity of his life was observable 
.from his very childhood. He was never tinctured with 
the least appearances of those impurities which are the 
reproach of the Christian world. How great an exam- 
ple was he of Christian continence and celibacy to all 
that knew him? His very air and conversation showed 
how much he was mortified to the world in this respect. 
He had no small abhorrence of all discourses and actions 
that savoui^ed any thing of impurity; and could not en- 
dure the obscene wit of those who were apt to wrest 
the talk of men's ordinary diBConrse that way. 

As the pleasures and pomp of the world pould never 
bewitch, so the hardships and troubles of it did never 
oppress and overcome his spirit; but, in all conditions, 
his mind seemed always equal and constant to itself. 
When he lived in the country, the hardships and incon- 
veniences he then endured, were the common talk of 
all that knew him: his coarse fare, and hard lodging, 
and unwonted solitude, the extreme coldness of the 
season, and the comfortless shelteifi he had against it, did 
excite the compassion of others, but never lessened the 
quiet and contentedness of his spirit; and he sufifered 
them with as much patience as if he had beeii bred up 
from his infancy in the Turkish galleys. Any traverses 
that befell him in the circumstances of his life and de- 
signs, did never becloud the natural serenity and cheer- 
fulness of his mind: and he used to say in relation to 
such discontents, that as he blessed God he was >not 
naturally melancholy, so he thought an acquired me- 
lancholy was scandalous in a clergyman. 

And O what a profound humility of soul did shine 
forth in his life and actions! The admiration of the 
perfections of the Almighty, in the contemplation of 
which he was oi>en taken up, had sunk dim into truly 
mean thoughts of himself All who had occasion to 
22* 



258 A 8KRM0N AT TH|S FUNXRAL 

convene with bim, were sensible of the lowliness of his 
mind; and yet he scarce ever observed those little offi- 
cious ceremonies or compliments, which we must ofl- 
times make use of to cover or counteract the pride of 
our spirits, or which it prompts ns to traffic with, to 
purchase the regard and esteem of others. He disdain- 
ed not to converse with the meanest; and loolced upon 
every man\as his fellow and companion. And the ejc^ 
empiary regard he had to young children, was equally 
the expression of hv$ huroiUty and his love. How ready 
was he, on all occasions, to converse with them, tak- 
ing a singular delight in their harmless innocence, and 
usually, ailer the example of the great master of love, 
affectionately embracing and blessing them? And snch 
was the pious meekness of his soul towards others, that 
if at any time his natural temper raised any little com- 
motion in his spirit, (which was scarce ever taken notice 
of after his entering into the holy function,) yet be 
quickly appeased it, and never suffered the sun to go 
down upon his wrath. He was never seen to boast of 
any of his performances, nor yet to use the finer and 
more subtle fetch of vain-glory, in an elaborate under- 
valuing of them, that others might commend them. But 
the expressions of his mean thoughts of himself, were 
always so natural, and so full of simplicity, that one 
might easily observe them to arise from the bottom of 
his soul: and all his actions, and his conversation, made 
appear the truth and sincerity of them. Though bis 
piety and innocence were eminent in the eyes of all 
that knew him, yet he had no small sense of his o^n 
unworthiness, when he set himself in the light of God's 
countenance, beheld his purity, and thought on his infi- 
nite ffoodness and mercy to him in Jesus Christ, (about 
which his thoughts were frequently taken up.) O how 
deeply was hennmbled under the sense of his sinfulness 
and ingratitude, and the little returns he had made to 
such undeserved goodness! When we are in a total 
darkness, we cannot discern one thing from another; 
and an ordinary light will discover to us the grosser lin- 
eaments, and more remarkable differences of things: 
but some beams darted in from the sjin will show us 



OF MR« ir|:irRT scovoal. 259 

mach' impurity and foulneM, where we thonsht all to 
have been pare and clean. And O with what leri- 
ousness and simplicity did this enlightened soul express, 
the sense he had of the sinfulness of his nature, and the 
worthlessness of his person! Almost the very last 
words he spoke were to this purpose, uttered with an 
extraordinary devotion of spirit. After having witness- 
ed his resignation to the will of God, and his humble 
hopes in his mercy and goodness: But, says he, when 
you have the charity to remember me in your prayers, 
do not think me a better man than I am; but look upon 
me as indeed 1 am, a sinner. A most miserable sinner! 

if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the 
wicked and ungodly appear! 

Bat I forbear to mention any farther the graces and 
virtues which shined forth in, the life and spirit of our 
friend. The experience which many of you have had 
of them in his conversation, will furnish yon with a 
better sense of them than all I can say. As to the 
particular instances I have given, there are more than 
one or two here present who can bear witness to the 
truth of them: and I hope there are none here that will 
think me guilty of so much impudence, as to utter 
falsehoods of him in a place where he was so well 
known, and where there are so many so well acquaint- 
ed with most of the important and private passages of 
his life. No: I know you are sensible how far short all 

1 have said comes of his true worth. He had need be 
endaed with the same spirit, that would speak aright of 
him; and true goodness cannot be expressed, but felt 

Give me leave only to join in with your meditations, 
and to think with yon On the lessons we may learn 
from the present dispensation, according to our diflbrent 
relations and circumstances. 

. And now, good people, let us consider his example, 
and our early loss of him. O that we would once 
learn to be wise, and to live like Christians! You are 
all sensible what an eminent example be hath giv^ us; 
and, alas! what hinders that we should not be foUowiBrB 
of him, even as he also was of Christ? How may we 
see in him all our little pretences and prejudicea against 



260 A BKRMON AT THE FUNERAL 

piety and goodneaa da9hed and confounded? Where is 
the man that will eAy, he tastes as much solid pleasure 
in his jollity and cups; that his lusts and vices create in 
him as great a serenity of mind, afford him a». much 
comfort, dispose him to as mpch patience and content- 
edness in any condition, as Were always seen to be the 
reward and blessing of the innocence and goodness of 
his life? When did ever such universal esteem and 
love wait upon a bad man to his grave, as we see hath 
accompanied the piety and virtue of one who was am- 
bitious of nothing less than the glory of men; while yet 
all mouths are opened in his praise, every man speaks 
good of him, and persons of all sects and persuasions 
amongst us, lament his loss, and bedew his hearse with 
tears? O how peaceful and resignech do we see the 
death of the righteous! and how unlike must ours be 
to it, if we will not live their life! What an uniform- 
ity is there in the virtue and innocence of that life that 
springs from true goodness, and the love of God? And 
O how void must we be of it, how palpable our hy- 
pocrisy, if our actions contradict one the other; if we 
bless God, and yet corse and do evil to our neighbour; 
if we confess and beg pardon for our sins, and yet 
breathe and meditate revenge against others; and if we 
have not a respect to all his commandments! If we 
must needs look upon the saints and holy men of God, 
in old time, 3$ if they had been creatures of another 
nature, and consider their example as disproportioned 
to our condition; yet here we have seen one conversing 
amongst us, like unto ourselves, subject to the same 
passions, temptations, and infirmities, and yet conquer- 
ing all these, through Christ th^ strengthened him: and 
why should we turn off all serious thoughts to old age# 
as if we were then only fit for God, when we were fit 
for nothing else! May not the piety and innocence of 
his youth, shame us into a better mind, and more 
Christian lives? For honourable age is not that which 
standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by 
lengtR of years. But wistdom is the gray hair unto 
men, and an unspotted life is old age. Thus the right- 
eous that is dead, shall condenm the ungodly which ara 



OF MR. HE'TRY SCOUGAIi. 261 

living: and youth that is soon perfected, the itiany yean 
arid old age of the unrighteous. 

And O what shall we say of that divine Provi- 
dence, which has taken this light from among us? The 
ways of the Lord are wonderful, and his judgments are 
made a great deep. One who was so great an exam- 
ple of piety, an ornament to his country and the 
church, is quickly removed from us in his youth; and 
many who are a reproach to. religion, the scandal of 
the world, and the shame of human nature, are lefl to 
old age; whether to fill up the measure of their sins, or 
to lead them to repentance, God knows. He whom 
God had blessed with so much light to instruct us, and 
virtue and zeal to direct us; who was so helpful to en- 
lighten us by his sermons* and discourses, and to ediiy 
US by his example, is suddenly snatched away from us. 
O that we may hear the rod,, -and him who hath, op- 
pointed it! When ^e make no use 'of God's talents, 
(such are the instructions, and counsel, and example of 
good men,) he takes them from us. Alas! what an ill 
account can we render of this? Could we almost im- 
agine sermons more serious, afiectionate, and heavenly; 
and yet wherein hav« w6 been prevailed with to better 
our lives, to forego one vice we were otherwise inclined 
to, or to do that good we were averse to? All the use 
we make of his example is, to seem to approve and - 
commend it; but wherein do we imitate it? Do we 
think that other helps would do better, that other means 
and circumstances would have more influence on our 
lives? Alas! my brethren, they that will not hear Mo- 
ses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded 
Aouffh one should rise from the dead. But we are 
usually most sensible of the worth of worldly blessings; 
and most thankful for them, when God takes them 
from us: and O that our appetite may be thus at least 
quickened for spiritual blessings! O that our present « 
loss may have this influence upon us, that we may be 
truly sensible of God's goodness in bestowing this bles- 
sing so long upon us; that we may adore his providence 
in depriving us of it; and that the impressions he hath 
lefl on our minds of his life and spirit, and the seed of 



262 A SEKMOK AT THE rUNERAI. 

the gospel he hatii sown in onr hearts, may, by God*8 
iprace, vet bring forth, fruit in ns. Finally, my breth- 
ren, whatsoever thitics are true, whatsoever things are 
honest, whatsoever things are just, &c. Those things 
which ye have both learned and received, and heard 
and seen in him, do; and the God of peace shall be 
with yon. 

An^ yon, my friends j who were his more peculiar 
care, his children, of whom he travaUed in birth till 
Christ should be formed in you, whom he was so solic- 
itous to have fitted for the service of Jesus, and the care 
of souls; alas! who can blame your tears, or withhold 
your grief? My father, my father, the chariot of Isra- 
el, and the horsemen thereof. It is not possible for me 
to express the blessing you had in him: I know yonr 
own hearts are sensible of it, beyond all I can say. O 
what a useful guide and director was ~he^ How dear 
were you nnto him! How unaffectedly humble and 
ingenuous in his conversation! How wise and pious 
were his instructions a!nd advices! How much were hifi 
thoughts t&Uen up about you, making them all serve for 
bis great design of fitting you for the holy function! And 
how great and unspeakable is your loss! O let ns 
adore, and submit to the divine providence! Search 
and try your hearts, and consider your ways, and reck-, 
on what fruit you have brought forth worthy of such 
a blessing; and whether you have not deserved the re- 
moval of that light, while you have'been so little care- 
ful to be enlightened by his instructions, or warmed by 
his piety and zeal. God withdraws from us such use- 
ful blessings, to stir ns up to shake off our sloth, and a 
more ardent care and endeavour for the enlightening of 
our mindi^, and the purifying of our hearts, for which 
his life and spirit would have been so useful to us. If 
ou would let the world- see what esteem yon had for 
im, if you would not be guilty of the abuse and mis- 
improvement of one of the greatest blessings you ever 
had, remember his instructions, follow his advices, and 
study to be what of all the vvorld he was most desir- 
ous you should be: make it appear, that his labour is 
not in vain. You have_ known his doctrine, manner of 



hi 



or MR. REKRY SCOUGAL. 26S 

life, purpose, faith, long*«a<fenng, charity, an^patience. 
You may remember how he behaved himself among 
yon; what, and how he instructed you. You know 
how desirous he was, both to have you good men, and 
well fitted for the holy ministry. Consider how, above 
all things, he directed you to the purifying of your 
hearts, and the exercises of true repentance. Think 
what gravity he required in your behaviour, what mod- 
esty and humility in your words and conversation, an- 
Bwerable to your designing such employment; what 
abstraction from unsuitable business or company. Call 
ib mind the care he had of directing your studies aright; 
how he diverted you from such learning as was not apt 
to give you a sense of piety and religion; took you off 
from an itching curiosity about questions and strifes of 
words, which minister to vanity and contention; per- 
suaded you to cleanness of heart, truly pious designs, 
and frequent devotion, as the best dispositions and helps 
for knowledge: and directed you to such books and 
studies, as might serve to give yon a right and deep 
tense of Christianity, and of the importance and duties 
•f this holy function. . Remember how nl^uch he be- 
wailed the unseemly haste, and unfit methods and arts 
which some used, to thrust themselves into the holy 
ministry; and admired the different conduct of the holy 
men in old times, who,^ sensible of its great weight, 
and apprehensive of their own insufficiency, were al- 
most always forced to it by the people, and the govern- 
ors of the church. Consider, I beseech you, of what 
importance he thought itj both for your own souls, and 
those which might be your charge, that yon should use 
all prudent means sincerely to examine yourselves be- 
fore-hand, of your fitness both in heart and spirit for 
that employment, and the purity of your intentions, 
designing truly the service of Jesus Christ, and the 
good of mcn*8 souls, and not the sordid ends of vanity, 
worldly mindedness, or ambition. And O that these 
things may sink into your hearts! and that you may 
continue in the things we learned of him, and have 
been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned 
them! 



264 A 8S11M0N AT THE FUNERAL 

And yoa, whom Providence liath intmsted .with the 
care and education of the youth, pardon me also to call 
to mind the example of our dear friend, while he made 
one of your society. You know you have charge of the 
hopes of the next generation ; and that the welfare both 
of the church and state, and their own good and happi- 
ness, doth very much depend upon the right forming of 
their minds and tempers in their younger years; and that 
as the making this your great design in that employment, 
doth most tend to promote it, so yon can never more 
serve your own interests than in it All callings have 
their several temptations; and divisions, or sloth, or inter- 
est, or ignorance, may be the bane of this. The ill man- 
agement of it has a more universally bad influence on 
the world, than that of most other employments, as the 
happy fruits of the faithful discharge of it doth as far 
transcend many others. We are all made for eternity ; 
and we cannot go about any thing aright, if our eye be 
not fixed upon its end, and if all subordinate ends have 
not a respect to the great end of our being. The holy 
calling has this for its inomediate end and design; and, 
next to it, yours has the nearest relation to it. We are 
set apart to declare the light which Jesus Christ has re- 
vealed from heaven, by which he brought life and inj- 
mortality to light through the Gospel; and you, to clear 
up the remains of the light of nature that is within us; 
and he that dwells in light inaccessible, is the fountain 
and author of both. We ought to be careful, that men 
be not misled by false lights, nor mistake darkness for 
Hffht, and to persuade them to live by the light of Jesua 
CnriBt; and you are to beware, that we do not take the 
prejudices of childhood, custom, and education, our 
own or other men*8 foolioh fancies, for clear notions 
and lights of our understanding. As the bad use of our 
reason, and the confusion of the light of nature, has 
made men pervert or disbelieve the light of Jesos 
Christ; so the sincere and right use of it doth strangely 
dispose us to receive that light, to admire and love it, 
and to lead our lives accordingly. True philosophy 
leads us to acknowledge and adore the author of our be- 
ing; to admire his infinite perfections, from the va 



OF MR. HENRY BCOITGAL. _ 265 

order, and uRefuIiiesn of bis works; to be sensible of his 
absolute disposal of all tbingn, and onr entire dependence 
upon hitn for life, tbongbt, and motion. It Hhows us 
the apirituHl nature of onr immortal souls, and the mean- 
ness and va^iity of sensual pleasnres. It discovers to us 
the shortness of onr reason, and the little ground we ha\ie 
for vanity, eitfier for our knowledge, who know so few 
and so littje of his works, or for what we are or can do, 
who owe all to him, and bear so mean a proportion to the 
universe of bodies and spirits. It lets us see, that our 
only happiness were to have our wills united to his; and 
shows us, that we should love him above all, and have 
an universal love for all men; and that all our felicity 
consists in studying thus heartily the common good of 
the world. It gives occasion to make us sensible of the 
strange corruption of our hearts, and how far we are 
from being what we should be, and how unable we are 
to give ourselves those diFpositions of love, and fear, 
and reverence, that we owe our* Maker. And thus it 
leads us to the Redeemer of mankind, and makes appear ' 
how much need we have of his grace and truth. I 
doubt not but these, and such-like considerations, do 
engage you to make this your great view and design, 
to dispose the youth, both by your instructions and ex- 
ample, to a right sense of religion, and suitable pppre- 
hensions of the Maker of the world, and the; Re- 
deemer of mankind; without which view, philosophy 
is lUtogether vain and impertinent. And you yourselves 
know how exemplary your friend was in making it 
useful for this end. His pious and Christian Ethics, 
his peaceable and devout life, his private instruction 
and training up of the youth, in order to this design, 
will be lasting remembrances of it to many ages. 

And now, my brethren, wliat shall we say, or whither 
shall we turn our thoughts? Alas! our loss is great and 
unspeakable. How much do we stand in need of such 
lights and examples ! Alas ! how weighty isour employ- 
ment! What prudence and piety does it call for! How 
dangerous is the neglect, or ill management of it ! What 
need have we of such a monitor to shake off our sloth, 
and awe, apd instruct us bv his example ! " Parishes are 
23. 



266 A SERMON AT THE FUNERAL 

holy ships,'* as one says, "whose carates are the pilots, 
and eternity the port they must guide them to. If it need 
so much art apd so long experience to sail upon the seas, 
what knowledge and prudence does it call for, to pass 
over happily the sea of this wor^d, where tempests 
never cease? Alas! who can think, without sensible 
grief and bitter tears, that the helm of these vessels, 
which contain such precious wares as cost no leas than 
the blood of God, should he committed, ordinarily^ to 
men of so little experience; that they are not only igno- 
rant of tl^e tempests, shelves, and banks of this terrible 
sea, bat even have not the strength and industry to 
guide their own little vessel back to the road? And 
those inestimable riches are frequently intrusted to 
those whom they will not trust with a purse of fifteen or 
twenty pieces. But, even when the pilots are able, who 
would not at last lose their courage to see themselves 
sailing amidst so many hazards, and with so little sao- 
cess? How many stupid ones fall out of the vessel! 
how many imprudent ones get out to ^il apart in shal- 
lops! how many desperate ones throw themselves over, 
and abandon themselves to the fury of the waves? 
What disquiets, what griefs, and what trouble for the 
poor pilot? He must run on all sides, to reach out his 
hand to those that fall. He must exhaust his lungs, in 
trying to call those who flee away. He must even fre- 
quendy throw himself into the sea, to recover those 
whom the waves swallow up. If he watch not^ the fall 
of the first will be imputed to him. If he be silent, he 
will answer for the flight of the second. If he fear la- 
bour and travail, he will be accused of the other's des- 
pair. If, in a word, he want vigilance, strength, and 
courage, he will be guilty of as many bloodsheds as he 
lets souls perish." This is A faint image of our condi- 
tion. How may these thoughts fill us with astonish- 
mei|t and fear? What a risk do we run, while we are 
engaged in such a dangerous employment? What piety 
and prudence, vigilance and courage, does it call for? 
How strangely does our sloth and negligence mfect one 
another, and lull us into carelessness, till the waves 
swallow us up? What need have we of some to call 



OF MR. HEIVRT 8COU6AL. 267 

Upon 118, to mind us of our danger, to make ns ashamed 
of oar &lotfa, and to stir ns up by Uieir example? And what 
a blessing was our friend to as in this respect? how did 
he inspire fife and spirit in a]I good designs amongst as, 
and stir as tip to oar duty, by his public and private care, 
as far as his influences coold reach, and by his exam^ 
pie? How well did he answer the character of a good 
•man, and a good clerg3rman? His innoceocy was eminent 
and observable from his childhood, so that he had a good 
report from them that were without He had been 
trained up from a child in the Holy Scriptures; and such 
instructions as might inspire him with the right knowl- 
edge of them, and a deep sense of religion; and which 
might make him wise unto salvation. As lie had been 
devoted to the holy calling from his infancy, so he was 
called t<5 it by the authority and hearty approbation of 
those who^ are empowered by God, having Uie inward 
testimony of a good conscience, and of the purity of 
his intentions; far from any design of vain-glory or inte- 
rest. His mind was stored with all sorts of knowledge, 
viHthout vanity or contention: his piety was eminent 
and singular, -always accompanied with an unafiected 
humility: his spirit and disposition were ever peaceable: 
his love to God, and men's souls, made him study the 
divine art of becoming all things to all men, that he might 
save some. None was ever more mortified to covet- 
ousness or filthy lucre. His charity in almsgivings were 
exemplary, in all things showing himself a pattern of 
good works. In his doctrine, he showed uncorropted- 
ness, gravity, and sincerity, sound words that could not 
be condemned. His discourse was always modest, and 
his conversation useful. He watched all occasions of 
doing good to men's souls, and would not let them slip 
Never man was more apt to teach, being sentle to' all 
men. Those that opposed themsekes to the truth, or 
were overtaken in a fault, he endeavoured to instruct and 
restore in the spirit of meekness, avoiding foolish ques- 
tions, and strifes of words. And, by walking in «all 
good conscience before God and man, he hath, among 
other things, given a singular instance of gaining the love 
and esteem of all, and of preservmg his person and his 



268 A SEHMON AT THE FUlSBSAL 

office ftom that contempt which they say is 90 generally 
thrown upon oar order: so that even scarce any man des- 
pised his youth. How may we beheld in his life, as in 
a glass, tne virtues and qualities of a true minister' of 
Jesus Christ.' What a living instruction was it to us, 
whereby we might observe our own defect8,and be stirred 
up to our duty? W ho can fathom the mysteries of Prov« 
Idenee, or tell what judgments may threaten the church 
by the removal of such a burning and shining light? *rbe 
righteous man perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; 
merciful men are taken away, none considering that it 
is from the evil to come. O that his life and example 
may be, yet active among us; that we may be actuated 
by the same spirit, not to min^ our own things, but the 
things of Jesus Christ; that we may have pity on our- 
selves and this miserable church; that the sense of oar 
lamentable diatractions, and the universal corruption of 
men's lives, may sink deep into our hearts! O that 
the love of Jesus, and the care of souls, may inspire our 
hearts, and direct our studies, and «iiiven our sermons, 
and increase our vigilance, and guide our lives! Save 
us. Lord, or else we perish! 

And now, my friends, what words or grief can ex- 
press our loss? you whom nature or choice had more 
peculiarly endeared to him; you who were honoured 
with his friendship, and blessed with his conversation; 
who were guided by his counsel, and comforted by his 
presence; who waa the relish of your joys, and the ease 
of your griefs: I am dbtressed for thee, my brother; vety 
pleasant hast thou been unto me. Thy love unto me 
was wonderful^ passing the love of women. B^t, alas! 
why do we mourn our. private loss, when the loss is so 
public and universal, and every man concerned in it; while 
it is not the removal of our candle only, but of a light 
of the worlds and a public good? Every man who knew 
him, or heard of him, claims a share in our^ grief, and 
bewail their particular loss in him. The a&ctionate 
father remembers a most dutiful and comfortable eon ; 
relations cry out for the loss of their dearest and most 
useful kinsman; friends bewail their being torn from a 
friend indeed; the learned bemoan the want of a great 



OF MR. HENRT 8C01TOAX*. 269. 

owner and promoter of true knowledge; the youth Ih- 
ment their being deprived of a mo!9t pious, wise, affec- 
tionate, and useful guide; the poor groan for the lo8S 
of a father; the devout find the want of a director and 
pattern ; the church feels herself deprived of one of her 
purest lights^ the clergy are sensible he was to them an 
enaample and an honour; the people acknowledge they 
had a blessing of him in his life and doctrine; the whole 
nation may feel the want of a great promoter of true loy- 
alty, and all Christian virtues and graces, by his exam- 
ple and instructions, and are sfenaible what an honour 
he was to them: yea, the several sects among us lament 
his loss, and seem to confess, that a few like him would 
soon heal our schisms; and that his pious life, and meek 
instructions, if any thing, would soon have recovered 
them- from their errors. O how is our loss swallowed 
up in the public! My father, my father, the chariots 
of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. 

But whither would our passions drive us? Shall we 
forget tt^ govemour of the world, and who is the Lord 
of life and death? We must not look on his removal 
from, us as a fatal necessity, or a blind stroke of chance 
and fortune; as the sport of the humours and parts that 
composed his body. No, no. The author of the uni- 
verse employs still that power, and wisdom, and good- 
ness, in ruling the world, that he did in making it. In 
him we live and move, and have our being. 11 is hand 
is in everv thing that befalls us; all that strikes our sen- 
ses, whicn we see, or hear, or know, or feel within our- 
selves, and impute to other instruments, are really the 
-eflfects of his power, and are ordered by him for great 
and wise end:^. A hair of our head does not fall to the 
ground without his leave. This that has now befallen 
us, is an holy indispensable eSect of a decree of the 
providence of God, to be executed in its due time. He 
had not sent him into this world for a lasting temponil 
comfort unto us, but for the great and wise ends of his 
own glory, and of the world that is to come. Let na 
not look upon this accident in itself, but in God, and in 
his will. Let us, in humble silence, adore the unsearch- 
able depth of his sccretl; acknowledge the holiness of ^ 
23* 



270 A SERMON AT THK FVNSRAI. 

his decrees; bless the conduct of his providence, and, 
(according to that singular example which we have seen 
on this occasion in one of the gre.atest fatherly afiectioiu 
heightened by all kinds of endearments,) uniting oar 
wills to the will of God, and sacrificing our natand 
passions unto it, let us walk with. him, in him, and 
for him, and what he hath willed in us, and for us, to 
all eternity. 

And truly, if we look upon our dear friend, and con- 
sider what he hath been and what he now is, and shall 
be to all eternity, it will make us yet the more sensible 
how much we ought to resign ourselves to, and glorify 
the will of our heavenly Father in his wise disposal of 
him. The life of a Christian is a continual sacrifice to 
God ; crucifying our earthly afiections, mortifying our 
sinful passions, and subduing our wills to his; and this 
sacrifice is finished and perfected by death: and the 
lives of men, and the accidents that befall them» ought to 
atTect our spirits, according as they break ofiT or advance 
in sacrificing their hearts and lives to God. How com- 
fortable has his life been to us, and to all good men, in 
this respect. From the time he was devoted and given 
unto Jesus Christ in his baptism, how has he been fit- 
ted by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to ofier up liis life 
a continual sacrifice to -God; restraining, constantly, the 
corruption of his nature from broakmg out into any 
great impurity or crime, subduing every day his pas- 
sions, purifying his afiections, studying to do every thing 
in and for God, and endeavouring a continual resigna- 
tion of his will to him? And in this we must not re- 
gret his few yeara, and the shortness of his days; for 
with God one day is as a thousand years, and a thoa- 
sond years as one day. Lengthof life is not to be mea- 
sured by many revolutions of the heavens, but by the 
progress we have made in the great design for which 
we are sent into the world: and in this respect he, be- 
ing sanctified in a little time, hath fulfilled ^ long time; 
so that he hath truly lived much in a few years, and 
died an old man in eight and twenty. He hath now 
Bfiished the work that God hath given him to do: he 
hath accomplished the thing for which he was sent, in- 



OF MR. HEirar scougal. 271 

to the world: by death he hath now perfected the sao- 
T^oe of himself, and the will of God is fulfilled in him. 
Whatever horror there may be in death to the natural 
ii^n, however terrible it is to the wicked and impeni- 
tent, yet to the godly, to all who consider it in Jesus 
Christ, it is full of joy and comfort. O death, where 
Is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The 
sting of death is sin,- and the strength of sin is the law. 
Bvt thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. He hath made the king 
of terrors lo become the object of the most acdent de- 
sires and wishes of his own; for, if to us to live be 
Christ, sure, 

To die is gain. I will not now launch out into this 
boundless ocean, to speak of the unspeakable haf^iness 
of the other world, and of the great advantages of the 
death of those whose life b Chrut's. But O how may . 
this, after the example of the ancient Christians, fill us 
with joy and comfort, in the pious and well-grounded 
hopes of the happiness of our dear friend! Well may 
we think we hear him say. Why do you mourn for me? 
Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves; for to me to 
die is gain. We Hve still in a world of sin and misery, 
of darkness and folly: we see nothing here but matter of 
tesirs and grief; we are among a crowd of people who 
are marchmg on to eternal misery, who know not but 
the next step may bring them to their journey's end ; 
and yet never think of any thing, but filling their bellies, 
satisfying their lusts, or worrying one another by the 
way. We have great diificulty to find the strait path 
to eternal life; and when we know it, and are entered 
into it, the seeming pleasure of the by-paths, the tempt* 
ations and example of the throng about us, a rooted 
corruption within us, and a subtle enemy that watches 
us, are ready at every step to betray us, and to turn us 
aside into the paths that lead to destruction: and what 
a iilessing is it to b6 iree of all these?' 

How happy- is our friend, who enjoys, now, an ab- 
solute freedom from all the pains, and grief^, and troubles 
of this miserable world; who is out of the reach of 
all those temptations and snares; whose soul is uncloggrd 



272 A SE&MON AT THE VVNKRAl,, &C. 

from an earthly body, freed from its guilt, and cleansed 
from its corruptions by the blood of Jesus, and put be- 
yond the possibility of ever sinning or offending against its 
Maker, which now only begins to live, (the being boAi 
into this world being rather a death, and dying . the be^- 
ginning to live for ever;) being now all light, and life, 
and love, and motion, seeing and enjoying God; having 
its will wholly swallowed up in his; being, as it were, 
lost in him, and in the rapturous bliss of his love; joining 
in pure and holy friendship with angels and archangels, 
and the spirits of just men made periect, in adoring and 
admiring our Maker and Redeemer, being enlarged in 
holy charity and ardent prayers for us poor mortals here 
below, and rejoicing over one sinner that repenteth; 
waiting for the redemption of the body, when this mor- 
tal shall put on immortality, and what is here sown 19 
corruption and a natural body, shall be raised in incor- 
rtkption and spiritual; and death shall be swallowed up in 
victory, when they shall happily be reunited, and live in 
joy and bliss to all eternity? Blessed are the dead that 
die in the Lord; they rest from their labours, and their 
works do follow them. They that be wise shall shine 
as the brightness of the firmament: ^and they that turn 
many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever. 
Who can speak aright of that happiness which eye 
hath not seeu) nor ear heard, rior the heart of man con- 
ceived? O let us not bewail the absence of our friend 
with fhiitless sighs or tears; nor sorrow as they that have 
no hope: but let us always endeavour, afler his exam- 
ple, so to live to Christ in this world, that our death 
may be die same gain and advantage to us; that with 
him, and all the blessed spirits, we may live in eternal 
friendship and love with the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost, God over all blessed for evermore. Jihien. 



HXNGHAM 7. FARMER PRINTER. 



7886 i82 




3 2044 073 419 



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